FORT SMITH, Ark. — A Sebastian County Circuit Court judge is considering a new trial request from a Fort Smith man convicted of second-degree murder in the stabbing death of an Oklahoma man.
Eric Eugene Mason is serving 45 years in prison after being convicted in 2011 of killing 27-year-old Joshua Aaron Walter of Muldrow, Okla., in July 2011. Mason claimed self-defense and now says he received ineffective defense counsel at his original trial.
A local newspaper reports that Judge Stephen Tabor is expected to issue a ruling within the next two weeks.
Defense attorney Joseph Self's petition for a new trial says that Mason's public defender failed to effectively challenge the racial makeup of the jury, did not effectively cross-examine witnesses and failed to seek a mental evaluation for Mason.