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DA: Woman who shot and killed man on Central Point property acted in self-defense

Vanessa Rose Marroquin will not face criminal charges following a full investigation.

Posted: Sep 10, 2019 10:27 AM
Updated: Sep 11, 2019 3:47 AM

MEDFORD, Ore. — The woman who shot and killed a 47-year-old man on a property in Central Point in early June will not face criminal charges, according to the Jackson County District Attorney's Office.

Evidence reviewed by the DA's Office agreed with 33-year-old Vanessa Rose Marroquin's claim that she had shot Robert Leroy Mitchell Jr. in self-defense.

Marroquin told investigators that she and Mitchell had been in a major argument on the night of June 5, which ended when Mitchell left.

"At that time, Marroquin took a revolver from her vehicle because she was concerned that Mitchell could snap and that when he does, he doesn't know when to stop," the DA's Office said.

Mitchell returned three hours later, finding Marroquin in a warehouse on the property with three other people. Mitchell appeared irate, and he reportedly grabbed Marroquin and began dragging her out of the warehouse.

"Marroquin described Mitchell shoving her, kicking her, knocking her down to the ground, dragging her by her arm and hair, and taking her towards a car located [roughly] 700 feet from the warehouse," the DA's Office said.

Marroquin later told officers that Mitchell grabbed an axe and began "striking her repeatedly," while continuing to drag her toward the car. Finally, Mitchell threw her to the ground while he went into the car to look for something.

"Marroquin believed she was in danger of being seriously assaulted or killed by Mitchell," the DA's Office said. "At this time, Marroquin took out the revolver and pointed it towards Mitchell, firing one time."

Apparently believing that Mitchell was still alive and coming after her, Marroquin ran back to the warehouse where she told the others what had happened. Just after 6 a.m. on the morning of June 6, Marroquin called 911 herself.

Investigators responded to the scene, confirming that Mitchell was dead. They interviewed the three witnesses, whose statements corroborated Marroquin's. Detectives also located the axe that Marroquin said Mitchell had used, as well as the revolver, which proved to have fired one round.

"During the investigation, detectives learned Marroquin and Mitchell had been in a relationship since October 2018," the DA's Office said. "Marroquin told detectives of multiple past incidents where Mitchell would grab her by the hair, throw her around, or grab her by the throat and squeeze."

In one recent incident, Marroquin went to the doctor because she was worried the Mitchell had crushed her windpipe. A review of medical records confirmed that Morroquin had gone to the emergency room in April for bruising and neck pain. The doctor found bruising across Marroquin's body.

"In another incident during their relationship, Mitchell asked Marroquin if she ever thought about leaving him. When Marroquin responded that she did at times, Mitchell threatened her saying she could never leave him and that if she did he would take her into the woods and it would be a 'hostage situation,'" the DA's Office detailed. "Marroquin believed Mitchell was referring to taking her into the woods and killing her."

On Marroquin's phone were a number of photos that appeared to document past abuse from Mitchell, and Marroquin's friends confirmed having witnessed past incidents of abuse or the resulting injuries.

Mitchell had a lengthy criminal record that included felony violent crimes and weapons convictions. Marroquin had no known criminal history.

"Under Oregon law, a person is justified in using deadly physical force against another if the person reasonably believes that person is about to use deadly physical force against the person," the DA's Office said. "The individual's belief of the perceived threat must be objectively reasonable as judged from the standpoint of a reasonable person. Here, the State cannot disprove that Vanessa Marroquin reasonably believed that Robert Mitchell Jr.'s use of unlawful force was imminent and that she acted to avoid imminent injury or death."

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