NEW: Legally Insane Strangler Remains Threat

Posted: August 21, 2014

Daily News-Record

HARRISONBURG — A Rockingham County woman who strangled her mother will spend another year in custody of the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services because she remains a threat to herself and the community.

An annual review of Lori Ann Mitchell’s case was held in Rockingham County Circuit Court on Thursday afternoon. Commonwealth’s Attorney Marsha Garst referenced a July letter from Dr. Lee Ann Bass that says Mitchell cannot be “adequately controlled” in an outpatient setting because of the risk of bodily harm to herself and others, and continued treatment from the state department is needed.

Defense attorney Tracy Evans did not contest the recommendation. His client was not in court.

Mitchell, 47, is at Western State Hospital in Staunton, according to court records. In June 2012, Judge Thomas Wilson found her legally insane when she strangled her mother, Betty Lou Armstrong, 68, more than a year earlier on Lincolnshire Drive west of Harrisonburg.

By being declared insane, Mitchell was found not guilty of first-degree murder.

Her mental health status will be reviewed again Aug. 21, 2015.

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