Tennant Trial: A ‘Trail Of Blood’ In Couple’s Flanders Home

T.E. McMorrow
Attorney Matt Touhy with his client in an attempted-murder case, Patchita Tennant, second from right, with her sister Carol Tennant, on right, and niece Kamishka O’Connor.

The second day of testimony in the trial of Patchita Tennant, the East Hampton CVS manager accused of attempting to kill her ex-boyfriend, Andrew Silas Mitchell, wrapped up March 10 after the jury was shown images of a trail of blood police found in hallways and on the stairs of the couple’s Pleasure Drive home in Flanders the night of September 5.

The jury learned that Mitchell was shot in the bathroom off the master bedroom. The trail of blood led from that room through the bedroom, onto the bed, and down the stairs to the front door, where first responders found Mitchell.

The nine women and three men who make up the jury, along with three alternates, in the courtroom of New York State Justice John Collins were also shown images of a sales receipt for a purchase made the same day of the shooting. Four jugs of bleach and various other cleaning supplies were purchased by Tennant at the CVS she worked at on Pantigo Road. Tennant is currently on leave from her job.

This receipt, the prosecution team of Eric Aboulafia and Katharine D’Aquila maintain, is proof that Tennant was planning to murder Mitchell, though her attorneys, Matt Touhy and Austin Manghan, say Tennant was planning to clean the couple’s rear deck. The receipt indicates the purchase was made at 4:29 PM, almost exactly four hours before the shooting.

The prosecution’s first witness to take the stand Monday March 9 was 911 dispatcher Courtney Dombkowski. The recording of the 911 call, in which Mitchell says he’s been shot, was played for the jury. Dombkowski was followed by several first responders, including police officers and emergency medical technicians.

Five shots were fired out of the Rohm RG40, a .38-caliber snub-nosed revolver that was used in the shooting. The gun was found by police on a vanity inside the bathroom. The jury was shown the weapon by Southampton Town Detective Robert Stabile during Tuesday’s testimony. He was followed by Southampton Town Detective Sgt. Lisa Costa.

Three of the shots fired hit Mitchell, two in the chest and one in the arm, testimony has shown. Though critically wounded, he survived after being flown to Stony Brook University Hospital, which is the only Level 1 trauma center in the area. One of the shots to Mitchell’s chest exited through his back. Two other spent bullets were recovered at the scene. All five bullets fired, Includeing the ones that were lodged In Mitchell’s body and were surgically removed, have been entered as evidence.

A photograph Stabile had taken of the cylinder of the gun, which contained five spent shells, was also shown to the jury on Tuesday. Oddly, the shells were made by several different ammunition-producing companies.

In the photo, one of the six chambers in the cylinder was empty. That bullet, Stabile said, was found in Tennant’s purse, which she left in the master bedroom when she fled the house. The defense contends that Mitchell placed the bullet there.

Aboulafia had told the jury during his opening argument Monday that Tennant had rammed her way through the locked bathroom door to get at Mitchell, who was shaving. He said she fired the gun, and was followed by Mitchell as she ran into the bedroom, where she jumped on the bed before firing again. The two then struggled for the weapon, Aboulafia said, with Mitchell gaining control of it, after which Tennant fled down the stairs and out the door.

Before opening arguments, Justice Collins cautioned the jury that nothing said during the opening by the lawyers should be considered evidence.

The first witness Tuesday was Floria Nichola-Bautista, a nanny for the couple’s then-3-year-old daughter, Vanessa Mitchell. Nichola-Bautista also cleaned the couple’s house. She said that Mitchell had cameras placed around the house. When he was at work at the construction company he owns, he would watch the monitors, and if Vanessa started crying, Mitchell would call Nichola-Bautista to ask what had happened.

“Silas [Mitchell] had a very strong character and was very strict,” she said during Touhy’s cross examination. Nichola-Bautista recalled a time Mitchell had made her cry.

She described Tennant, whom she called Miss Patricia, as a “calm person, a very loving person” who would listen to her when she talked about her problems.

The trial is scheduled to resume March 12. Tennant and Mitchell are both expected to testify during the trial.

Check back for more updates from the trial.

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