HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A habitual offender will spend the next 13 years behind bars without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to possession of heroin with the intent to distribute charges on Friday. District Attorney Joel Smith said 36-year-old Walter Shane Mitchell, of Gulfport, will serve his 13 year sentence day-to-day because of prior felony convictions.
Smith said jury selection for Mitchell's trial was set to begin next week when he decided to plead guilty to the charges.
Authorities said Mitchell was arrested on March 6, 2013, near the intersection of 19th Avenue and 2nd Street in Gulfport with six separate tin foil packages containing heroin.
"I want to thank our Gulfport Narcotics Unit for their vigilance and for being proactive in keeping our community safe. Unfortunately, heroin has made a comeback in our area and is one of the most dangerous and addictive drugs out there. The sentence handed down by Judge Clark reflects that seriousness," said Smith.
Mitchell had three prior felony convictions including statutory rape, a drug charge from 2002 and failure to register as a sex offender in 2011.