I’ve read this case in a book co-written by the victim’s mother in 2013.
Anna Lynn Hurd was only 16 years old when she was stabbed to death in the early hours of Saturday, 23 February 2013.
“If I can’t have her nobody can.” That’s what her possessive boyfriend, Anthony Joseph Mitchell, who was 17 at that time, thought to himself.
The book might have changed the names of some characters in the story to protect their identity. But newspaper reports have identified Mitchell as the defendant. Therefore, there might be some inconsistencies with the names. The second part of that book focused on the topic of domestic violence, particularly intimate partner violence (IPV).
In the summer of 2012, Anna Lynn Hurd decided to move to St. Paul, Minnesota to be with her father, Patrick, leaving her mother, Jennifer, and her sisters in Texas.
She then enrolled in St. Paul’s North High School and there met Anthony Joseph Mitchell, a student in Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps. They became close and had the same group of friends to hang out with.
Meanwhile, Anna’s father kept on leaving her alone in their house to sleep with his new girlfriend which later made Anna regret the decision to come to St. Paul.
Then, Anna started to feel Anthony’s possessiveness. He would ask who she was texting, where she went, and whom she went out with. Anthony has problems with his temper and sometimes threatened to commit suicide if Anna would leave him.
Not only that, Anna and their friends knew that Anthony keeps a pocket knife and plays with it most of the time.
Aside from her relationship with Anthony, Anna was also bullied at school which caused her to fight back against one student resulting in her expulsion. When the news reached her father, they had an argument, causing Anna to leave her father’s house and stay with Anthony.
Expelled from high school, having a fight with her dad, Anna reached out to her mother back in Texas. Anna’s mother sent her money to buy tickets to get home. Anthony may follow later if he wants to. Around that time, too, Anna had rekindled her contact with TJ, her ex-boyfriend in Texas.
According to Anna’s sister, TJ was 18 and Anna was 14 when they were dating he was Anna’s first love, and had remained friends.
On their last night together in Minnesota, Anna and Anthony went to a house party. Some friends saw Anthony playing with his pocket knife and seemed bored. The couple left the party to get something to eat, but with all the stores closed, Anna decided to return to the house party alone and Anthony went home.
Anthony told Anna to text him once she arrived back at the party but he didn’t receive any message. So he went out to find her. Anthony found Anna lying on the park trail, wounded and unconscious. Anthony tried CPR on her, but sensing no pulse, he ran to his house and told his mom. His mother called 911.
Investigation and Trial
The police responded and started questioning Anthony. It was dark at the park trail, and Anthony told the police that they could go ahead walking because he couldn’t bear to see Anna’s dead body again.
During the interrogation, Anthony said that he saw a young man with spiky blond hair, wearing a white hoodie jacket, bending over Anna’s body and going through her pockets and when he came, the young man ran away from the scene.
The police interrogated Anthony again, this time in the police station. Inconsistencies in his story raised some red flags.
First, when asked if Anthony had a flashlight when he found Anna, he said no. It was dark at that time and it was impossible for the police to locate the body without a flashlight.
Second, Anthony kept on lagging behind the police, claiming that he couldn’t go back to where he found Anna’s body. Between his whiny voice and his insistence on not going there, it raised another red flag. He might have a part to play in this more than just discovering her body.
Third, he said, “…look for the drag marks…”. It was extremely dark, so how could they see drag marks that easily?
Fourth, he said he didn’t go upstairs but went straight to his mom. Police had found some traces of Anna’s blood in Anthony’s bathroom as if Anthony had tried to clean up.
Two weeks after Anna’s death, Anthony pleaded guilty and appeared in court for sentencing. The true story revealed itself in court.
What Really Happened and The Aftermath
According to Anna’s mother, on that Friday night, Anna and Anthony went together to a house party. Jennifer talked to Anna at eight o’clock, and Anna said everything was fine, she was having a good time then said their goodbyes.
Friends saw Anthony playing with a pocket knife and seemed bored. They left the house party to get something to eat, but with all the stores closed, Anna decided to return to the house party since it was still early. Anthony refused.
While walking, someone texted Anna. Anthony asked who it was, and Anna said it was none of his business, it was just a friend back in Texas. Jealous, Anthony asked who it was in particular.
Feeling upset and had enough of his possessiveness, Anna admitted that she was texting TJ, her ex-boyfriend. She informed him that she was returning to Texas the next day.
Close friends knew that Anna had plans to break up with Anthony, and he was always upset when she was communicating with other boys.
They started to fight. She pushed him, and he fell to the ground. The pocket knife went out of his pocket and Anna grabbed it. But he grabbed it back from her and stabbed her four times in the stomach. Anna turned and tried to run away. Anthony went after her, stabbed her in the back, and dragged her into the woods so no one could find her.
The next day, Jennifer saw on her daughter’s Facebook profile too many “Rest in peace, Anna”s. She couldn’t believe it at first. She immediately traveled to St. Paul and felt compelled to see the scene where Anna’s body was found.
During the wake, Jennifer found Anthony a great comfort like a true and loyal boyfriend. She trusted him (the title of the book). It didn’t dawn on Jennifer that the way Anthony described the mysterious young man, he was actually describing himself exactly. They’ve been together for 9 months so she thought that nothing could be wrong.
Anthony stood trial as an adult (at age 17) and was sentenced to 22 years for second-degree murder, a lesser sentence on account of his guilty plea. He is estimated to be released in 2027, he will be 32 years old by then.
Domestic violence has come in different forms and has become much more common, and yet only a few are reported. Anna, being the fighter that she was, still kept to herself Anthony’s behavior. Why?
It was already too late for Jennifer to know the real situation between Anna and Anthony. Patrick might have been clueless. But close friends knew but were afraid of Anthony. Why?
The book I Trusted Him (The Story of Anna Lynn Hurd) is a testimonial of this crime and other incidents of domestic violence worldwide. Many are unwilling victims, others try to fight back but couldn’t, and some are even helpless.
But with today’s technology, a much better help is just a phone or a click away.
There are already patterns laid for us to see, telltale signs for us to determine, so it’s just a matter of how are we going to prevent one when we see one.