Only four months after being released from juvenile detention, convicted murderer Jevontai Ingram has been locked up again.
Ingram, 18, of Oklahoma City, was jailed Friday after police reported his mother had accused him of purposely damaging her car. “He was humble and apologetic,” his attorney said.
Ingram spent three years in custody for his role in the botched robbery of a south Oklahoma City pharmacy in 2009. He pleaded guilty to murder because an accomplice died.
Ingram was freed in May while the former pharmacist who fatally shot his accomplice is serving a life term in prison.
The former pharmacist, Jerome Ersland, 60, was convicted at a trial last year of first-degree murder for shooting the wounded second robber five more times.
Thousands of supporters have signed petitions calling Ersland's conviction an injustice.
Ingram on Aug. 31 told The Oklahoman he was going to stay out of trouble. “I learned from my mistakes,” Ingram said.
“It's a tough situation,” his attorney, Michael Johnson, said Wednesday. “We've spent all this money to rehabilitate this kid and then we put him back in the same environment and around the same people who got him in trouble in the first place.”
The attorney said he hopes that being back in the Oklahoma County jail will get Ingram's attention. The attorney said Ingram has been doing well but should not be around his mother. The attorney said Ingram turned himself in after learning a judge had ordered his arrest.
Ingram was sentenced under Oklahoma's youthful offender laws, which means he is on probation for five more months after his 18th birthday. He turned 18 on Aug. 24. Under the law, a judge can “bridge” a youthful offender into the adult prison system for even minor probation violations.
Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said Wednesday he may ask a judge to order Ingram to prison. The prosecutor said he will decide after he looks at the evidence about the car damage and reviews such things as whether Ingram was meeting regularly with his probation officer.
“We're looking at everything,” Prater said.
Associate District Judge Richard Kirby could order Ingram to prison for as long as a life term. The judge is scheduled to see Ingram again Oct. 25.
Ingram also could be charged with a new felony, destruction of property.
Police reported his mother, Natasha Renee Ingram, 37, complained on Sept. 12 that Jevontai Ingram had kicked out the front and back windshields of her 2001 Buick and had stomped in the hood and roof.
Police reported Natasha Ingram said Jevontai Ingram “and his little brother were arguing over girls.” Police reported she said he became upset when she told him she was not getting involved.
Natasha Ingram told The Oklahoman on Wednesday she has informed prosecutors she does not want to press charges. She said she does not know which of her three sons actually damaged her car.
She claims she did not directly accuse Jevontai Ingram of damaging the car, but police officers assumed it was him because of his record. Prater said he is aware she no longer wants a charge filed but “that's not her decision to make now.”
Ingram was 14 at the time of the May 19, 2009, robbery attempt at the Reliable Discount Pharmacy.
In surveillance recordings, Ingram can be seen wearing a mask and pointing a handgun inside the drugstore.
Ingram fled when Ersland pulled out a gun and began firing, the recordings show.
Ersland shot the second robber, Antwun Parker, 16, in the head as the boy pulled on a mask inside the store, according to the recordings. He then chased after Ingram, who ran outside. Ersland then came back inside the store, got a second gun and shot Parker five more times.
Prosecutors contended Ersland went too far when he shot Parker again because the unarmed robber by then was unconscious from the head wound and not moving on the floor.
Ingram was arrested a week after the robbery attempt. He was held in the Oklahoma County jail and then the Oklahoma County Juvenile Detention Center.
Prosecutors made a deal to treat him as a youthful offender in exchange for his cooperation against the two men who recruited him to rob the drugstore for them.
Both men were convicted at their trial last year of first-degree murder.
Under his deal, Ingram pleaded guilty on Jan. 8, 2010, to first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit armed robbery. He was charged under Oklahoma's “felony murder” law, which allows a robber to be charged with murder if an accomplice dies.
He was placed at the maximum-security L.E. Rader Center in Sand Springs on Feb. 25, 2010, then transferred June 8, 2011, to the Southwest Oklahoma Juvenile Center in Manitou.
He was placed at a group home on Oct. 17, 2011, and was released from there May 17.
Robert Medley, Staff Writer