Mickelson sentenced to death, defense files for new trial

Mickelson leaves the Caddo Parish Courthouse after being sentenced to death
Mickelson leaves the Caddo Parish Courthouse after being sentenced to death
Murdered: Charles Martin
Murdered: Charles Martin

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A Caddo Parish judge sentenced convicted killer Eric Mickelson to death Wednesday afternoon for the murder of Charles Martin.

During the sentencing phase, the prosecution told the jury Mickelson also admitted to killing another victim, Kristi O'Pry years earlier.

Saying he "totally agreed" with the jury which found Mickelson guilty and recommended the death penalty last week, Caddo Parish District Court Judge Scott Crichton officially handed down the sentence after roughly an hour and a half of hearing defense motions.

Judge Crichton denied a pair of defense motions prior to the sentence. He first denied a motion to delay sentencing, saying the court was following the law by issuing the sentence at this time. The penalty phase of Mickelson's trial ended Aug. 5 shortly after 8 p.m.

Defense attorneys for Mickelson also filed a motion for a new trial, citing several points including: claims their client is mentally ill; claims that they were unable to adequately voir dire jurors during the selection phase; claims their client's rights under the 8th and 14th Amendments were violated; claim the Confederate flag in front of the courthouse should be removed. Judge Crichton discussed each point in the motion, ruled the claims "totally without merit" and denied Mickelson a new trial.

During the jury trial Mickelson wore a button down shirt and tie.  For the formal sentencing he donned his black and white stripped jumpsuit.

Dozens of people were in court for the sentencing Wednesday including family of both victims and detectives who worked on the case.  Mickelson's mother, who sat through the entire trial, did not attend.

After the judge made the death sentence official, the Martin family spoke out about the trial for the first time.

"We thank God that it's over.  I'll tell you something that was said that was pretty special when my grandpa was first murdered.  God comes in and decides how you are going to die.  A car wreck, a stroke wasn't good for him.  He had to choose something that would impact many other people's lives like the O'Pry family and allow them to get some closure." said Martin Grau, Charlie Martin's grandson.

Grau also thanked the Caddo Parish District Attorney's Office and Shreveport Police Department.

Amy O'Pry, Kristi O'Pry's sister, said justice had been served, but it was time to look forward.  She also talked about a letter she recently wrote to Mickelson telling him she forgives him.

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