Mitkus Pleads Guilty in Taylor Summers' Murder
Long seen as the key to the Summers' murder, Mitkus was accused of lying to investigators and obstructing justice shortly after the body of the actress was discovered in a ravine in Whitemarsh, Pa., a suburb 10 miles northwest of Philadelphia.
Mitkus pleaded guilty before Judge William Carpenter to abuse of a corpse, tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, unsworn falsification to authorities, criminal conspiracy to hindering apprehension, criminal conspiracy to commit abuse to a corpse and two counts of hindering apprehension.
Summers, also known as Natel King, was last seen alive Feb. 29 walking to a corner bar in Conshohocken, Pa. after completing a bondage film shoot with photographer Anthony Frederick. The coroner’s office ruled King’s death a homicide, saying she died from multiple stab wounds to the neck and upper body.
Throughout the trial period, Mitkus claimed she had nothing to do with the stabbing of Summers, but she has now confessed to helping Frederick cover up the crime by removing evidence and lying to detectives. Prior to pleading guilty, Mitkus had spent six months in jail on charges related to Summers' murder.
Frederick pleaded guilty in February to one count of third-degree murder and a variety of other charges in a plea bargain that required him to testify against former assistant Mitkus. Frederick originally told the district attorney's office that Mitkus watched the murder and then helped clean Summers' blood off the floor and dispose of the body.
The defense argued that Mitkus had become traumatized after seeing Frederick murder the actress and was a victim in her own right of being "in the wrong place at the wrong time, with the wrong guy,” defense attorney Tim Woodward said.
Investigators originally speculated that Summers' murder was part of a “snuff” film, but in Frederick's confession, he told police he had killed Summers in self defense after she threatened him with a hunting knife after learning he couldn't pay her for the shoot.
The sentencing for Mitkus and Frederick is still pending. Frederick faces up to 51 years in prison for killing Summers and Mitkus faces up to 29 years and fines totaling $65,000.