CLEARFIELD – A former inmate of the state prison at Houtzdale pleaded guilty earlier this month for the death of his cellmate.
In October, state police charged Jacob Michael Mitchell, 34, with criminal homicide and related charges in connection with the death of Garrick Bloom at the state prison in Houtzdale.
Bloom,48, who had been convicted of multiple child rape charges, was found unresponsive in his cell at 11:03 p.m. on Aug. 29, according to previous reports. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.
A trooper described Bloom as having bruises all over his face and markings on his neck that indicated he had been choked by some sort of string.
During jury selection in this case, Mitchell signed a plea agreement in which he pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter with the other charges being withdrawn.
At that time, he was sentenced by President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman to seven-and-one-half years to 15 years in state prison.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, Mitchell told investigators that he had been drinking alcohol all day and was “passed out in his bunk” when he was awakened by Bloom touching him inappropriately.
He explained he then jumped out of bed and began assaulting Bloom. He got Bloom on the ground and then Bloom bit him in the finger, causing him to go “into a rage.”
Mitchell stated he hit the call button for the guards as he was beating up Bloom and then hit it again after he was done assaulting him. He told the guards, “I think he’s dead,” according to the complaint.
When asked at what point he strangled Bloom, he replied “I don’t know. I just snapped” and “I’m sure I was the cause of whatever happened from there.”
Officials were able to take photos of Mitchell’s hand which was extremely swollen by the assault, police said.
Two of the corrections officers reported to police that Mitchell told them that he tied a string around Bloom’s neck in an attempt to hang Bloom and make it look like a suicide.
Mitchell was serving a sentence of two to six years from Cambria County in July 2014 where he was convicted of felony theft in one case and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle in another.
He was also charged with four counts of aggravated assault in relation to an incident on Sept. 16, 2014 at another prison.
For this he pleaded guilty to one count of simple assault for which he received a 12 to 24 months consecutive sentence.
He was moved to Houtzdale in December of 2014, according to online court documents. Currently he is in SCI-Smithfield in Huntingdon.
Bloom, formerly of Shippenville, was serving a 40 to 80 years sentence that began in October of 2019 after he was convicted of raping a child in Clarion County.
He had been at SCI Houtzdale since Dec. 5, 2019.