The Verdict Is In: Emanuel Mitchell 'Guilty' On All Counts
OKLAHOMA CITY - It's life without parole for Emanuel Mitchell.
After only 40 minutes of deliberation, the jury in the re-trial of Emanuel Mitchell found him guilty on all counts. The verdict was announced just after 2 p.m.
Mitchell sat stoically as the verdict was announced. He did not speak until he was led out of the courtroom.
“I don't think it was a fair trial. It is what it is. We go to the next stage with an appeal,” Mitchell told News 9.
When asked if he was disappointed with the verdict, Mitchell replied, “Of course I'm disappointed, but I'm not going to stop my fight.”
Emanuel Mitchell began calling witnesses on Wednesday in his defense during his retrial, including an eye witness, an Oklahoma City police homicide detective and a notary.
Closing arguments began shortly after 11:30 a.m. Assistant DA Suzanne Lavenue took the jury through the testimony of Michael Powell and her son Caleb Powell and how the 911 call they made gave a play-by-play of them seeing Mitchell driving a stolen Honda away from the shooting scene - and her fear that he would get away before police arrived.
She also touched on the other witnesses who saw Mitchell. She also reminded the jury how the rightful owner of the stolen Honda testified that she did not know Mitchell, or give him permission to use her car.
Lavenue also encouraged the jury, composed of 7 men and 7 women (including both alternates), to take a close look at the surveillance video taken at the Reliable pharmacy - and pointed out how it corroborated the testimony of Jevontai Ingram, who was one of the two teens sent in to rob the Reliable pharmacy on a May 19, 2009.
Ingram had testified how Mitchell told them exactly what to do the day of the robbery. Lavenue also stated while Mitchell's friend Anthony Morrison may have been the mastermind behind the robbery, but that Mitchell was the voice.
Lavenue talked about how Mitchell and Morrison had an agreement with the two teens to rob the reliable pharmacy and that they would take the pills and the teens could keep the cash.
Lavenue reminded the jury how Mitchell drove the teens to the pharmacy and gave them clothes, gloves, a board and a gun to commit the robbery. But once the boys entered the pharmacy in an attempt to hold it up, Ersland shot at the two teens. The bullets missed Ingram, but one of them hit 16-year-old Antwon Parker, knocking him to the floor.
Surveillance video shown to the jury showed how Ersland then switched guns and shot Parker five more times while he was laying on the ground, killing the teenager right there in his pharmacy. Ersland was convicted of murder and is currently serving a life sentence.
Mitchell had wanted Ersland to testify in his retrial, but he refused pleading his rights not to do so under the 5th amendment during a court hearing last month.
During Mitchell's closing arguments, he thanked the jury for listening to all the evidence and testimony and said that while the state said he was the mastermind of the robbery, Mitchell stated the state endorsed liars.
He claimed that Ingram was forced to lie and corroborate states evidence and claims that state prosecutors made an agreement with Ingram about what he would testify to during the trial. He also claimed the owner of the stolen Honda also lied and was coerced by the state to give the testimony she gave.
Mitchell told the jury "speculation is not facts." He asked the jury not to look at him differently because he is not a trained attorney, but to just look at the facts. He said the state gave plea agreement deals to corroborate a story. He admitted to his criminal past, and that he had been to prison before, but was on probation at the time of the robbery and shooting and was doing what he was supposed to with his probation officer.
Mitchell tried to discount the eyewitness accounts, saying none of the witnesses saw him with gloves on his hands. Mitchell also brought up how the evidence will show none of his DNA was found in the car, and how Ersland is the one who shot and killed Parker and that he was the one responsible for his death, not him.
Mitchell told the jury it was a cold-hearted murder, execution style, a tragedy. He says he forgives those who lied on the stand, but says everyone has a choice and says he was told as a child the decisions you make define your future. He asked if he was responsible for what Parker and Ingram did, did he also control what Ersland did? He again asked the jury not to prejudice him for not being a skilled attorney and he again thanked the jury for listening to his case.
David Prater then took his turn and talked about choices. He said Mitchell and Morrison put two boys up to do his dirty work. He said just because a co-conspirator may not have committed the robbery, it does not make him any less liable for the death of Parker that occurred during the commission of that crime.
Prater even got in the seat of the witness stand and started banging on the stand saying everyone who testified identified Mitchell as the person they saw in the car and around it. He also discounted Mitchell's conspiracy theory that the DA's office forced people to lie in the case. He also showed the jury the gloves found near Mitchell and the stolen Honda are Mitchell's, and how that actually helps implicate him to the robbery and driving the stolen car that did not have his fingerprints or DNA inside.
Prater asked the jury not to leave their common sense at the door, saying that everything points to the guilt of this defendant.