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ABA Journal: “Blindsided in Courtroom Attack, DA Fights Back, Sends Convicted Murderer to Hospital”

May 6, 2011

Author’s Note:

What specifically interests me about this case is that Oklahoma’s felony murder law allows a robber to be convicted of murder if an accomplice dies during the robbery. This man was convicted in the death of an alleged accomplice in a botched drugstore robbery, who was shot to death by the proprietor. Stay tuned as I bring up the case law for this one!

Meanwhile, here’s American Bar Association’s Martha Neil’s take on the incident which she posted on May 4, 2011.

*  *  *

An Oklahoma sentencing hearing Monday for a defendant who had just been convicted in a high-profile felony murder case played out like a scene from a Hollywood western, according to eyewitness accounts.

Blindsided by Emanuel Mitchell, who came up from behind and punched him in the face as he was standing, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater fell to the floor of the courtroom but fought back, pushing Mitchell toward a wooden dividing railing. The two fell through a swinging gate as sheriff’s deputies rushed in to subdue Mitchell and jurors and spectators ran for the courtroom exits, reports the Oklahoman.

The DA, who is a former police officer, suffered a cut on his nose and abrasions on his cheek and jaw. Mitchell, 33, went to the hospital with a dislocated shoulder.

“I just saw a fist coming out of the … left corner of my eye. And he nailed me in the side of the face,” Prater tells the newspaper. Then “I pushed him over backwards into the rail.”

As the men grappled, the DA says, “All I knew was I needed to get him on his back. … He just nailed me the one time, the cheap shot.”

Mitchell was convicted in the death of an alleged accomplice in a botched drugstore robbery, who was shot to death by the proprietor. Oklahoma’s felony murder law allows a robber to be convicted of murder if an accomplice dies during the robbery.

Additional coverage:

KCEN: ” *Man Punches Prosecutor in Court”

KOCO: “Witnesses: Mitchell Attacks District Attorney In Court”

via Blindsided in Courtroom Attack, DA Fights Back, Sends Convicted Murderer to Hospital – News – ABA Journal.

Here’s a more indepth article:

OKLAHOMA CITY — Less than an hour after a jury decided that Anthony Morrison and Emmanuel Mitchell were guilty of murder in the 2009 death of Antwun Parker, one of the men convicted attacked a prosecutor in court.

Eyewitness News 5’s Amanda Guerra said Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater was standing during a post-verdict hearing when Mitchell, who was seated, got up and lunged toward him. Mitchell took Prater to the ground, according to witnesses.

That caused moments of chaos in the Oklahoma County courtroom, according to Guerra.  There were no immediate indications of any injuries beyond a little bleeding by Prater, who had an injury to his nose, she reported.  Guerra reported that the jury was still inside the court room, but others began running outside when the attack happened.  Several deputies had to put Mitchell under control.  Prater told his colleagues, ‘I’m good,’ Guerra reported.

Mitchell was detained and taken into the jail elevator.

 Jury Returned Verdict Quickly 

The two men were charged in the death of the 16-year-old, who died in the commission of a robbery at a south Oklahoma City pharmacy. They were charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit a felony, and Mitchell had been charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

Guerra reported that it took less than two hours for a jury to come up with a verdict: guilty on all counts.

A jury recommended that both men be sentenced to life in prison with a chance for parole on the felony murder conviction. The jury did not recommend a sentence for the other charges.

Neither Mitchell nor Morrison showed any emotion when the verdict was read.

During the robbery, officers said, pharmacist Jerome Ersland, 59, shot Parker in the head and rendered him unconscious. Prosecutors said the pharmacist went too far when he shot the teenager five more times in the abdomen.

 Under state law, those who help plan a robbery where an accomplice dies can be prosecuted for murder.

Mitchell testified in his own defense Friday that he had nothing to do with the crime. Mitchell said he was charged in the case because he has previous felony convictions.

Ersland faces a separate murder trial May 16.

 This is breaking news from KOCO.com. Sign up for alerts at http://www.koco.com/wirelessnews.

Read more: http://www.koco.com/news/27742322/detail.html#ixzz1LdEPJSXy

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2 Comments
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