SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A new trial date has been set for confessed killer Eric Mickleson, after a Supreme Court ruling threw out his conviction and death sentence last month.
Eric Mickelson, now 45, was sentenced to death in August 2011 following his conviction on first degree murder in the death of of Charles Martin, an 86-year-old retired painting contractor whose body was found dismembered and scattered around various parts of Caddo Parish in 2007.
Martin is believed to have been strangled to death when Mickelson and a female accomplice allegedly broke into his home.
Mickelson, now 45, confessed to Martin's murder following his arrest, and to killing Kristi O'Pry 11 years earlier. He was the last person seen with O'Pry before she disappeared in July of 1996. Mickelson told detectives he strangled O'Pry, then disposed of her body in a pond on his Woolworth Road property. He was later charged with second-degree murder in that case.
Mickelson appealed his conviction, arguing that the district court failed to allow the defense to exercise a peremptory challenge and excuse a prospective juror from the capital case because he would not consider intoxication as a mitigating factor in the sentencing phase.
Part of Mickelson's defense was that he was high on cocaine at the time of the murder, and under the law, intoxication "shall be considered" as a mitigating circumstance.
On Tuesday, a trial date of March 9 was set after a hearing in Caddo District Court. It was established in court that an earlier date could not be set because of trials that were already scheduled through January and February.
The state also asked for a later trial date because of concerns over internal funding, which Caddo Assistant District Attorney William Edwards says has been an issue with capital cases within Caddo Parish lately.
The public defenders that have been representing Mickelson through the last trial have been appointed to him again for the new one. Their motion to be removed from the case was denied by Caddo District Judge Ramona Emanuel.
They have until October 22 to appeal that ruling.