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Authorities Putting Screws to Mitkus?

Philadelphia – The prosecution is attempting to keep the pressure on an assistant for a photo shoot involving murdered Canadian sex model Natel King by keeping that assistant behind bars, according to Montgomery County Chief Public Defender Carolyn T. Carluccio.

Carluccio is representing 30-year-old Jennifer Mitkus, who was working as an assistant to photographer Anthony J. Frederick.

Authorities have charged Frederick, 46, of the 1100 block of Bayless Place, Lower Providence, with murder in connection with the stabbing death of King.

Mitkus, who was living with her cat at Motel 6 in Pottstown at the time of her March 24 arrest, is charged with unsworn falsification to authorities and hindering apprehension for allegedly lying to authorities about her last contacts with King.

“These charges carry no jail time whatsoever and she already has spent six weeks in jail on bail that she cannot make,” said Carluccio, who contends authorities want to keep the pressure on Mitkus to gain her cooperation in the investigation of King’s death.

Law enforcement officials have speculated that Mitkus knows more about King’s murder than she has shared. Authorities also are investigating whether Mitkus had any involvement in the slaying or its aftermath.

Carluccio’s comments came Wednesday during a bail reduction hearing before county Judge William R. Carpenter. Carluccio is asking that Mitkus, who is being held in prison on lieu of $10,000 cash bail, be released on her own recognizance.

County First Assistant District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman opposed the request, contending that, with no bail money at risk, Mitkus would flee the area.

“Recognizance bail would guarantee that we would never see her again,” said Ferman, stating Mitkus has no ties that would keep her in the area.

Mitkus told investigators the day of the King photo shoot was the first day she had been employed by Frederick. Prior to that, she said, she worked several years as a prostitute in Philadelphia, according to county Det. James McGowan.Also, Ferman said, Mitkus has no permanent residence. At the time of the Feb. 29 photo shoot, Mitkus was living at the Hampton Inn in Oaks. When she was arrested, she was living at the Pottstown motel.

When detectives went to arrest her, they looked in the car she said she borrowed from a friend whose name she would not disclose and saw that the backseat area was filled with clothes and bags, with only room enough in the car for a driver and front-seat passenger, McGowan testified.

“Bopping from one motel to another with her cat and living out of her car is not considered having a stable residence,” said Ferman, citing one of the considerations for bail.

“The purpose of bail is not to keep a homeless person in jail,” Carluccio argued.

Carluccio said her client has no prior record and does not abuse drugs or alcohol. Mitkus grew up in the Huntingdon Valley area of the county, graduated from Mount St. Joseph’s and has a father who still lives in the county, according to Carluccio.

If released from prison, Carluccio said Mitkus would move to a homeless shelter and seek employment and a permanent residence while reporting weekly to authorities while awaiting trial.

Also in the hearing before Carpenter, Carluccio asked the judge to throw out the charges against Mitkus, claiming prosecutors failed to present sufficient evidence at her preliminary hearing to hold her for trial.

Authorities cannot prove when and where King died, Carluccio said. Therefore, she said, they cannot prove Mitkus lied when she said the last time she saw King that King was alive.

Mitkus told detectives that, at the conclusion of the photo shoot in Conshohocken, she saw King “digging around” in the backseat of her car that was parked on the street. She said she then witnessed Frederick pay King $900 before Frederick drove away, leaving King alive at her car, according to court records.

Ferman said the prosecution presented sufficient evidence that King did not leave the photo shoot alive. There is evidence, including blood found at the Conshohocken apartment studio at 105 W. Third St. as well as Frederick’s car and the fact that her body was wrapped in two drop clothes similar to those used in the photo shoot, to indicate King “never left that building alive,” Ferman said.

Mitkus’ statement that they all left that photo shoot and went their different ways “simply did not happen. She lied,” Ferman said.

Carpenter said he would take both matters – the request for bail reduction and the petition to toss out the charges against Mitkus – under advisement and would rule at a later date.

King, who used the stage name Taylor Sumers for her adult entertainment work, had traveled from her residence in Ontario to work with Frederick on a photo shoot on Feb. 29 at his rented apartment studio in Conshohocken. She was reported missing by her roommate on March 4.

The body of the tall, blonde 23-year-old Canadian college student, who posed for adult entertainment photos and films to earn money for school, was discovered March 23 in Whitemarsh by a passerby walking along River Road near Harts Lane.

Wrapped in a blue backdrop commonly used by a photographer, the body appeared to have rolled down a steep embankment after being dumped over a guardrail, according to authorities. A ball gag and other bondage-type materials were found in the area.

The Coroner’s Office ruled her death a homicide, saying she died from multiple stab wounds to the neck and upper body.

Some eight hours after King’s body was found, identified and a cause of death determined, authorities arrested Frederick and Mitkus.

Frederick, who is charged with first- and third-degree murder and related offenses, is being held in prison without bail.



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