UDPATE: Convicted killer wants new judge for retrial in pharmacy shooting
OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma City man, once convicted of murder in one of the metro’s highest profile cases, is back in court.
Emanuel Mitchell is accused of planning a robbery at the Reliable Pharmacy that ended when pharmacist Jerome Ersland shot and killed one of the teenage robbers.
A jury convicted Mitchell of murder back in 2011, but this year the Court of Criminal Appeals overturned that verdict.
On Friday Mitchell lost his request for a new judge.
“This judge is very impartial. Nothing about him is right. He’s let the district attorney dictate what’s going on,” said Mitchell.
Ignoring his misuse of the word impartial, Emanuel Mitchell is disappointed that his request for a new judge during the retrial got denied.
“It’s like my rights don’t mean nothing,” said Mitchell.
During Mitchell’s first trial, judge Kenneth Watson denied Mitchell’s request for a change of attorney, leading to a new trial being granted.
Despite Mitchell’s request, judge Watson has every right to refuse to step aside from the case.
“You are not allowed to go judge shopping because a judge heard your case before,” said Attorney Emilie Kirkpatrick.
Attorney Kirkpatrick says Mitchell can ask for another hearing before judge Watson, but he’d have to prove Watson simply cannot be impartial.
“You think it’ll make a difference during trial?” I asked Mitchell.
“It’s got to be. This is my life,” Mitchell answered.
While Mitchell doesn’t like Watson’s decision, there is good reason judges can’t be so easily replaced.
“Some judges would have thousands of cases and others would have two. The wheels of justice would absolutely stop,” said Kirkpatrick.
Despite Watson’s ruling, Mitchell is already more fortunate than his co-defendant and alleged robbery mastermind Anthony Morrison, as well as Jerome Ersland.
Both previously lost their requests for new trials.
Mitchell does plan to represent himself during retrial.
That is set to take place in 2014.