Convicted killer asks for new trial in Fort Smith

FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) - 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.

The Times Record 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.

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