Grande Prairie Brewhouse killer appeals first-degree murder conviction

Police tape marks a perimeter around a parking lot in front of The Canadian Brewhouse on 104A Avenue in Grande Prairie, Alberta on Wednesday morning, October 1, 2014. TOM BATEMAN/DAILY HERALD-TRIBUNE/QMI AGENCY Tom Bateman / Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Trib

The man convicted of shooting 28-year-old John Rock to death outside a Grande Prairie bar nearly five years ago is appealing his first-degree murder conviction.

Nicholas Richard Harris filed a notice of appeal from Edmonton’s maximum security prison Friday.

Harris was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced in June to life with no possibility of parole for 25 years.

Court heard Harris shot Rock twice outside the Canadian Brewhouse on Oct. 1, 2014, over a drug debt. Both Harris and Rock were involved in the cocaine trade at the time and were originally from Edmonton.

Harris wasn’t charged until April 2017 after a two-year police investigation.

At trial, Harris testified that he acted in self-defence, saying Rock had punched him. Justice E.J. Simpson rejected the self-defence argument.

Harris has appealed on eight grounds, arguing, among other things, that Simpson “erred in his interpretation and application of the legal principles for the planning and deliberation element of first-degree murder.”

Harris’s lawyer also argues Simpson misinterpreted self-defence law and erred in assessing credibility.

Harris is asking the Alberta Court of Appeal to either acquit him, quash the conviction and order a new trial, or convict him of either manslaughter or second-degree murder.