Cellmate charged in August homicide of Shippenville man

The cellmate of convicted child molester Garrick Bloom, of Shippenville, has been charged in his killing.

Clearfield state police said Jacob Michael Mitchell, 33, of SCI Houtzdale, is charged with felony criminal homicide, aggravated assault and assault by prisoner and related misdemeanor charges.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, police said Mitchell killed Bloom, 48, on Aug. 29. Bloom was found unresponsive in his cell shortly after 11 p.m.

According to the affidavit, police said Bloom had bruises on his face and markings around his neck from having been strangled with what police described as “some sort of string.” There also was dried blood on Bloom’s face. Bloom was declared dead at the prison infirmary at about 11:45 p.m.

In an interview with police, Mitchell said he was passed out in his bunk from having consumed alcohol all day when he was awakened by Bloom touching him inappropriately, according to the affidavit.

Mitchell said he jumped out of bed and assaulted Bloom, and Bloom bit Mitchell on the finger and this made him go into a fit of “rage,” according to the affidavit.

Mitchell, according to the affidavit, said he hit the button in the cell for the guards during the assault and again once it was over. Mitchell said he “snapped.”

On Sept. 10, police received information from prison officials that Mitchell had admitted to having tied a string around Bloom’s neck in an attempt to hang him and have his death appear as a suicide, according to the affidavit.

Clearfield County Coroner Kim Shaffer Snyder said the cause of Bloom’s death was ligature strangulation and the manner of death was homicide.

Bloom was serving a 40-to-80-year sentence that began in October 2019 after he was convicted of raping a child in Clarion County. He entered SCI Houtzdale on Dec. 5, 2020.

Bloom was originally charged with over 800 counts of various offenses, including statutory sexual assault, rape forcible compulsion, and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse from incidents in 2007.

He pleaded guilty to five counts of rape of a child for which he received consecutive sentences.