ONLY ON 3: Mistaken identity sends man to jail for twin's crime - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

ONLY ON 3: Mistaken identity sends man to jail for twin's crime

SIGNAL MOUNTAIN, TN. (WRCB) - Mitch Torbett says it was his twin brother police were looking for. He spent two days in the slammer before he was finally able to convince them of their mistake.

Torbett was arrested on Signal Mountain for a federal charge. He was jailed for nearly two days before authorities realized they were mistaking him for his dead twin brother.

Torbett is working with an attorney to file a civil suit against the Signal Mountain Police Department and the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.

He was arrested last week for a federal crime his identical twin brother allegedly committed in Louisiana before he died two years ago.

"If they would've trusted me, if they would've given me the benefit of the doubt, if they would've done that, none of this would've happened," Mitch Torbett says.

Torbett says it all started when applying for a construction permit with Signal Mountain.

"After running my driver's license, said perhaps I had a federal warrant for my arrest," Torbett says.

Mitch Torbett told police the federal warrant had to be linked to his identical twin who died two years ago.

Signal Mountain Police Chief Boyd Veal declined an interview, but says the warrant had Mitch's name on it, so they did their part by arresting him and turning the case over to the FBI.

"I quickly realized I wasn't being detained for fingerprints, but rather being arrested," Torbett says.

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office also says the warrant was under Mitch's name, but the affidavit shows "Mike Torbett," Mitch's twin.

Under the arrestee's name it says, "unknown-- do not change."

"I saw his name and I realized that I was in trouble, big trouble," Torbett says.

Mitch was booked, but says he refused to sign any paperwork because it had his brother's name on it.

"I turned into my identical twin, deceased brother," Torbett says.

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office says Mike must have given Mitch's name when he was arrested before, saying, "that happens with twins all the time."

When Mitch went before a judge, the FBI presented fingerprints from both brothers.

"She said, 'your honor, we have the wrong person. He needs to be released immediately'," Torbett says.

He was released after 36 hours behind bars. The words "wrong person" are now written on his legal documents.

"Emotionally, I can't even put it into words," Torbett says.

According the to affidavit, and what Mitch says the FBI told him, investigators had been on their way to extradite him to Louisiana.

Torbett's attorney says he's working on a civil suit for false arrest and false imprisonment, and will likely seek compensation for emotional distress.

  • NewsMore>>

  • Man who snatched AR-15 from gunman: 'It was life or death'

    Man who snatched AR-15 from gunman: 'It was life or death'

    Sunday, April 22 2018 11:15 PM EDT2018-04-23 03:15:12 GMT
    Monday, April 23 2018 9:20 AM EDT2018-04-23 13:20:16 GMT
    (Larry McCormack/The Tennessean via AP). James Shaw Jr., shows his hand that was injured when he disarmed a shooter inside a Waffle House on Sunday, April 22, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn.   A gunman stormed the Waffle House restaurant and shot several peo...(Larry McCormack/The Tennessean via AP). James Shaw Jr., shows his hand that was injured when he disarmed a shooter inside a Waffle House on Sunday, April 22, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. A gunman stormed the Waffle House restaurant and shot several peo...
    The man who wrestled the gun away from the Nashville's Waffle House shooting suspect says he decided if he was to die, gunman would "have to work to kill me.".More
    The man who wrestled the gun away from the Nashville's Waffle House shooting suspect says he decided if he was to die, gunman would "have to work to kill me.".More
  • Chattanooga Trees: The Bonnie Oaks Willow Oak

    Chattanooga Trees: The Bonnie Oaks Willow Oak

    Monday, April 23 2018 9:17 AM EDT2018-04-23 13:17:47 GMT
    Bonnie Oak Willow OakBonnie Oak Willow Oak
    Bonnie Oak Willow OakBonnie Oak Willow Oak
    After the Civil War, it was reported that fewer than 60 trees were left in Chattanooga.More
    After the Civil War, it was reported that fewer than 60 trees were left in Chattanooga.More
  • Georgia county gets no proposals for Confederate monument

    Georgia county gets no proposals for Confederate monument

    Monday, April 23 2018 8:49 AM EDT2018-04-23 12:49:54 GMT
    The "Lost Cause" monument sits by the old DeKalb County courthouse in downtown Decatur. CREDIT ATCHARLES / WIKIMEDIA COMMONSThe "Lost Cause" monument sits by the old DeKalb County courthouse in downtown Decatur. CREDIT ATCHARLES / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
    The "Lost Cause" monument sits by the old DeKalb County courthouse in downtown Decatur. CREDIT ATCHARLES / WIKIMEDIA COMMONSThe "Lost Cause" monument sits by the old DeKalb County courthouse in downtown Decatur. CREDIT ATCHARLES / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
    Georgia law doesn't allow the county to conceal the monument.More
    Georgia law doesn't allow the county to conceal the monument.More
Powered by Frankly