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Mitkus Out on Bail

NORRISTOWN, Pa — Photographer’s assistant Jennifer Mitkus, accused of lying to authorities in their investigation of the murder of Canadian adult film actress Natel King, could be out of prison as early as today.

Montgomery County Judge William T. Nicholas late Tues-day handed down a ruling ordering the immediate release of Mitkus on nominal bail from the county pri-son in Lower Providence. The 30-year-old Mitkus, charged with making unsworn falsifications to authorities and hindering apprehension, has been held in the county prison in lieu of $10,000 cash bail since her arrest on March 24.

The judge ruled that Mitkus could only be imprisoned up to 180 days without being brought to trial. That 180-day period has expired.

Mitkus must still face trial on the charges against her, but she no longer has to sit in jail awaiting the trial, according to the judge’s ruling.

Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Barbara Ashcroft said that her office intends to try both Mitkus and photographer Anthony J. Frederick together.

Authorities have charged Frederick, 46, of the 1100 block of Bayless Place, Lower Providence, with first- and third-degree murder and related offenses in connection with the stabbing death of King. Frederick, who is being held in prison without bail, was assigned a court-appointed lawyer two weeks ago. No trial date has yet been set.

“We are focused on our priority, to try them together, not on whether Jennifer Mitkus remains in jail until the trial,” said Ashcroft.

The prosecutor’s office in May had opposed Mitkus’ release from prison on reduced bail, contending that they feared she would flee because she has no real ties to the area.

Mitkus, who grew up in the Huntingdon Valley section of the county, had no permanent address at the time of her arrest. A former prostitute in Philadelphia, Mitkus was living at motels in Oaks and the Pottstown area and out of her car at the time, according to authorities.

Montgomery County Chief Public Defender Carolyn T. Carluccio could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The body of the tall, blonde 23-year-old Canadian college student, who posed for adult entertainment photos and films under the name of Taylor Sumers 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 King’s death a homicide, saying she died from multiple stab wounds to the neck and upper body.

King had traveled from her home in Ontario to work with Frederick on a photo shoot on Feb. 29 at his rented apartment studio at 105 W. Third St., Conshohocken. She was reported missing by her roommate in Canada on March 4.

Mitkus told authorities she last saw King by her car outside the studio after the photo shoot had been completed. She and Frederick left the area before King, Mitkus reportedly told authorities.

County law enforcement officials contend that King never left the studio alive.

Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr., who is prosecuting the case, has speculated that the motive for the stabbing was that either Frederick, who had photographed King with a ball gag in her mouth, did not want to pay her for the photo shoot or that it was the result of making a snuff video that got out of hand.



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