The search for Michelle Mitchell’s murder ended after local District Attorney Cal Dunlap confidently prosecuted a woman suffering from schizophrenia for the crime.
It wasn’t until recently, however, that DNA evidence exonerated Cathy Woods, who spent more than three decades behind bars for a crime she did not commit. Rodney Halbower, the “Gypsy Hill Killer,” was instead implicated in Mitchell’s murder based on DNA evidence. He was already incarcerated in Oregon.
Woods was released in 2014. She lives in an assisted living facility and has successfully sued Washoe County, the City of Reno and more recently settled with the State of Nevada for millions.
She was the first person to successfully settle with the state under a bill passed in 2019 allowing restitution for those wrongly convicted.
Mitchell’s murder is now featured on Paula Zahn’s “On The Case” show. KOLO TV reporters Terri Russell and Ed Pearce, who have been reporting on the case for years, are interviewed on the program. Former Reno Police officers are also featured.
This Is Reno spoke with former Reno Police Lieutenant J. Andre Boles, who is now a true crime writer. Boles has two books about true crime in Reno, Nevada. His latest is Monster on Gypsy Hill, about the Gypsy Hill murders committed by Halbower. Listen to the podcast: