David Albert Mitchell: Drifter gets 30 years in prison for brutal rape of 73-year-old Central Park birdwatcher

David Albert Mitchell
David Albert Mitchell

(CBS/AP) NEW YORK - The drifter who raped a 73-year-old birdwatcher in New York City's Central Park was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Wednesday.

David Albert Mitchell, 43, pleaded guilty to rape and robbery in the Sept. 12, 2012 attack.

The victim spoke at the sentencing, calling Mitchell a "sexual terrorist" and describing how he brutally raped and sodomized her "like a rabid dog," then stole her camera, reports the New York Times. In addition to the sexual assault, the victim suffered a broken finger, a smashed tooth and a damaged jaw.

The Manhattan district attorney's office said that about a week before the rape, the victim had reportedly taken a photograph of Mitchell masturbating in the same park, and he confronted her.

Mitchell, who is from West Virginia, has a history of sexually motivated crimes. At 18, he was charged - and acquitted - in the rape and murder of an 86-year-old woman. He was later charged in the rape of a woman in her 70s; the rape charge was dropped and Mitchell pleaded guilty to other charges, his attorney at the time has said.

Later, Mitchell was suspected but never charged in the death of a 54-year-old woman. He served prison time in other cases, including the abduction of his ex-girlfriend.

Mitchell's sentence in the New York rape also includes 10 years of supervision post-release. According to the Times, the judge in the case said that the sentence was one of the longest she has given to a pretrial defendant and that her intention "was to punish him and make sure he will never hurt any other person again."

Complete coverage of David Albert Mitchell on Crimesider