Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
OCDA TO OPPOSE PAROLE OF MAN CONVICTED OF SHOOTING-MURDER DURING 1972 ROBBERY ATTEMPT
SANTA ANA – Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) Tony Rackauckas is opposing the parole of a man convicted of shooting and killing a man during a robbery attempt in 1972. Jerry Michael Wade, 64, is currently being held at California Medical Facility in Vacaville, CA. Wade was sentenced April 19, 1972, to seven years to life in state prison for one felony count of first degree murder with a 5-year sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a firearm during the commission of a robbery. Deputy District Attorney James Enright originally prosecuted this case. Wade is scheduled for a parole hearing tomorrow, July 12, 2011, at 1:30 p.m., at the prison before the Board of Parole Hearings, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations.
Orange County Senior Deputy District Attorney Alison Gyves will appear at the hearing to oppose Wade’s parole.
Arrests Prior to Shooting-Murder
Wade was arrested by the Anaheim Police Department Aug. 31, 1969, on suspicion of burglary. While out of custody during pending investigation, he was again arrested for burglary by the Santa Ana Police Department Sept. 26, 1969. Wade was charged for both the Anaheim and Santa Ana burglaries Oct. 17, 1969 and Dec. 26, 1969, respectively, with one count of second degree burglary for each incident. The inmate pleaded guilty to these charges and was sentenced to two years in state prison. This sentence was suspended and the inmate was placed on probation, with the condition that he serve one year in county jail for each offense, with the terms to run consecutively.
On May 30, 1970, Wade escaped from Orange County Jail and stole a vehicle from a used car dealership. He was arrested a short time later and his probation was revoked. He was sentenced for the burglaries and escape July 29, 1970, to a sentence ranging from six months up to 20 years in state prison. Wade was transferred by the California Department of Corrections to the Don Lugo Community Center in San Bernardino County subsequently, to participate in a work furlough program, which granted him leave from the facility to work. This leave was the opportunity used by the inmate to commit the murder.
Shooting-Murder of Gerald Mitchell
On Jan. 21, 1972, while on leave for the work furlough program, then-25-year-old Wade and two accomplices, William Cartwright and Susan Sutcliffe, pulled into an apartment complex in the City of Orange. Wade and Sutcliffe exited the car and confronted 25-year-old Gerald Mitchell and his wife Karen Mitchell, both of whom had been standing on the sidewalk next to the complex with their dog. The couple did not know the attackers. Wade demanded Gerald Mitchell’s wallet and Sutcliffe demanded Karen Mitchell’s purse.
Gerald Mitchell handed over his wallet, while Karen Mitchell explained that she had no purse. At this point, Sutcliffe pushed Karen Mitchell and Gerald Mitchell came to the defense of his wife by shoving Sutcliffe back. The inmate then threatened to kill Gerald Mitchell if he acted again. Karen Mitchell attempted to take the wallet back from Wade. Wade responded by shooting his .22 caliber revolver and murdering Gerald Mitchell, hitting him in the chest. Sutcliffe and Wade fled