Denham Springs man faces more counts in homicide case

LIVINGSTON — Homicide investigators brought more counts Tuesday against Joshua M. Mitchell, a suspect they booked Saturday with second-degree murder in the shooting death of a man whose body was found in Blind River Canal, Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard said.

Mitchell allegedly shot the victim while they were on a highway in the Denham Springs area before driving to St. James Parish, where he dumped the body of Brandon Steele Parnell, 26, of Walker, Ard said

Detectives booked Mitchell on Tuesday with auto theft, based on evidence indicating Mitchell allegedly took the van being driven by Parnell after shooting him while they were in the vehicle on the night of Feb. 25, Ard said.

Investigators added a count of obstruction of justice to Mitchell’s booking records Tuesday because he allegedly cleaned the van in an attempt to remove evidence of the shooting, said Lori Steele, spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators also booked Mitchell Tuesday with two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile because Mitchell allegedly drove the van after Parnell’s death for about 10 days and transported two juveniles in the stolen vehicle during that time, Steele said.

On the day of Mitchell’s arrest last week, March 9, investigators in a helicopter spotted the van at the house where they subsequently arrested Mitchell, Ard said.

Detectives further added to Mitchell’s booking records on Tuesday counts of failure to register as a sex offender and possession of a firearm by a person convicted of certain felonies, based on a sex offense for which Mitchell had been convicted in St. Tammany Parish, Steele said.

Ard said investigators confiscated a gun from Mitchell, but it is still being examined by the State Police Crime lab to see if it was the weapon used in the shooting of Parnell.

After leaving a lounge on the night of Feb. 23, Parnell was shot once in the head at close range, investigators said.

The Walker resident’s body was then left in a canal just north of Gramercy, authorities said.

Mitchell remained in the Livingston Parish Detention Center Tuesday with bail set at $625,000, the Sheriff’s Office reported.