RACINE — After a three-day trial and 90 minutes of deliberation, a jury found Bobby L. Mitton guilty on all charges for the 2016 death of a Racine man, who he reportedly beat and robbed.
Mitton, 30, of the 3100 block of 16th Street, was charged with first-degree intentional homicide as a party to a crime and misdemeanor theft for his role in the death of 34-year-old Thomas Borglin of Racine.
During the trial, Assistant District Attorney Dirk Jensen called more than 10 witnesses, including co-defendants Mecquon Jones and Derryle Allen, the victim’s mother, Mitton’s sister, Milwaukee County Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. Wieslawa Tlomak and various Racine police officers who investigated Borglin’s death. Mitton chose not to testify.
The guilty verdict means that Mitton faces a lifetime prison sentence. The only question that remains is whether Mitton will be eligible for parole in the distant future.
A deadly fight
Racine Police began investigating Borglin’s death on April 11, 2016, after his body was found in his home in the 1500 block of Grove Avenue.
Allen told investigators the beating occurred after Borglin and Mitton began arguing about whether Borglin was a real contractor. Borglin didn’t want to fight, Allen reportedly said, but Mitton kept “pushing it over and over.” Allen said he saw Mitton bring Borglin to the ground before punching him, the criminal complaint states.
That’s when Jones began stomping on Borglin’s upper torso. Jones allegedly admitted to punching and kicking Borglin, but told police he couldn’t remember the number of times because he was too drunk.
Following the beating, two TVs — a 50-inch and 32-inch — were reportedly stolen by the three men, along with a knife, keys, Borglin’s wallet and cellphone.
The Racine County Medical Examiner’s Office determined Borglin died from blunt-force trauma to his neck and chest.
During closing statements, Jensen called Mitton’s alleged actions on April 11, 2016, the day Borglin was found, “very strange, very odd, very disturbing.”
Jensen also cast Mitton’s acquaintances — mainly Allen and Jones — in a negative light.
“What we’ve got is two individuals who testified who are not nice, sweet, innocent people. But, what would you expect, in this kind of a case, in this kind of a situation where an individual was beaten to death?” Jensen said. “The parties (Allen, Jones and Mitton) come and drink together, eat together, steal together and leave Mr. Borglin to die together.”
Before closing arguments were made, Racine County Circuit Court Judge Mark Nielsen reminded the jury that the state did not have to prove motive (premeditated or otherwise) for Mitton to be considered guilty, only that Mitton acted with disregard for Borglin’s life, and that his actions caused Borglin’s death.
Mitton’s attorney, Daniel Mitchell, said in his final statements to the jury, “This was just something that went wrong.”
Mitchell pointed to co-defendant Jones’ prior convictions, stating that Jones was the man truly guilty of homicide, and claiming that Mitton did not cause Borglin’s death.
He also cited inconsistent testimony from Jones and Allen, and how their stories changed since the incident happened more than two years ago.
After hearing everything, the jury ultimately found the evidence against Mitton substantial enough to find him guilty of first-degree intentional homicide.
Jones entered a no contest plea to first-degree reckless homicide and misdemeanor theft. In March, he was sentenced to 35 years in prison, and 20 years of extended supervision for the homicide charge, and nine months in the Racine County Jail for the theft charge.
Allen pleaded guilty to a felony count of theft of movable property from a person or corpse. Charges of harboring/aiding a felon and theft of movable property, were dismissed, but read in. In July 2017, Allen was sentenced to two years of initial incarceration and five years of extended supervision.
Mitton is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 19 at the Law Enforcement Center, 717 Wisconsin Ave.