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Actor to Return to Jail for 60 Days in Spouse Abuse Case

Courts: Sasha Mitchell of 'Step By Step' violated his probation. Judge cites new acts of violence.

May 03, 1996|GALI KRONENBERG | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A judge on Thursday ordered TV star Sasha Mitchell to return to the Ventura County Jail for 60 days for violating his probation and for continued violence against his wife.

Mitchell, a kick boxer who appears in the series "Step By Step," is to begin serving his two-month jail term Thursday. The sentence could be reduced to 45 days for good behavior, a prosecutor said.

Convicted in September of beating his wife, Mitchell was given three years' probation and ordered to perform community service and attend counseling classes for spouse abusers. He spent 30 days in jail in January after failing to comply, but was allowed to leave custody during the day to go to work.

This time, Mitchell will not have that freedom because the TV show has finished production for the season, his lawyer said.

On Thursday, Judge Bruce Clark faulted the actor for skipping too many counseling classes and for several more incidents of violence against his wife. Jeanette Mitchell came to court with their 4-month-old son to show support.

After the hearing, Deputy Dist. Atty. Adam Pearlman detailed a number of incidents since March 1 in which, he said, Mitchell violated the terms of his probation.

While Jeanette shielded the couple's infant son with her body, Mitchell "hit his wife between five and 10 times with a couch pillow," Pearlman said.

Within a few days, Mitchell lost his temper again, Pearlman said, and he "called her a slut and spit on her."

Days later, when his wife wouldn't go to dinner with him, he "threw a chair against the wall and then picked up [Jeanette's] guitar and chucked it through a plate-glass window."

Mitchell's attorney, Howard Lowe, acknowledged his client's actions, but distinguished between the gravity of the recent incidents and the behavior that led to his April 1995 arrest for spouse abuse.

"It's important to recognize that although he lost his temper, he wasn't completely out of control," Lowe said. "There is an element of progress. You didn't have the extent of violence that you did in the past.

"It wasn't acceptable, but it was milder in form."

Lowe said that although Mitchell had also violated his parole by skipping far too many spouse abuse classes, he was now "showing up to class regularly and completing all of his homework assignments."

The couple, Lowe said, are "committed to making their marriage work."

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