Durham man charged with killing 4-year-old son to use sleepwalking defense at trial

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DURHAM, North Carolina — A defense attorney for a Durham man on trial for killing his 4-year-old son says the defendant doesn't remember attacking the boy or his two other children.

In an opening statement Friday, lawyer Jay Ferguson said Joseph Mitchell was under a lot of stress and struggled to sleep in September 2010. He says Mitchell suffocated his son while walking in his sleep.

Mitchell's other two children testified. They say they woke up to their father trying to cover their mouths and faces and had to fight him off.

Mitchell rejected a possible plea deal in 2013.

Prosecutors are trying him for first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder.

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