NORMAN — In a blow to his hopes for a pardon someday, convicted murderer Jerome Jay Ersland was charged Monday with possession of contraband in prison.
The former pharmacist, 61, is serving a life sentence for fatally shooting an already wounded robber inside a south Oklahoma City drugstore in 2009.
His son, Jeffrey Jay Ersland, 36, also was charged Monday — with bringing contraband, drugs, into prison. The contraband was identified in the felony charges as a patch of Fentanyl, a powerful pain reliever.
The new case will not affect Jerome Ersland's pending appeal, his attorney said. It could affect any future request for a pardon or sentence commutation if he is convicted again, the attorney said.
“It could certainly hurt his chances for any kind of clemency, absolutely,” attorney Doug Friesen said.
The son and other supporters of the former pharmacist have delivered thousands of petitions to the governor's office. From jail, Jerome Ersland told The Oklahoman in 2011 that he had a “lot of hope” Gov. Mary Fallin will pardon him.
Jeffrey Ersland will be cleared once the evidence is presented, his attorney said. “Justice will prevail,” said the attorney, Lana Cohlmia.
Jerome Ersland is being held at Joseph Harp Correctional Center in Lexington. His first parole hearing is scheduled for 2049.
Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn said even though Jerome Ersland may never get out of prison, “you still have to abide by the rules, or there will be consequences for your actions.”
“We can't just turn a blind eye and allow them to do whatever they want to, just because they're incarcerated,” he said.
The prosecutor also said about the murder conviction, “Well, you never know. That's the thing. You never know what's going to happen with that. Maybe the parole board will decide to put him on a secret docket sometime.”
A corrections officer reported finding two patches in Jerome Ersland's pants pocket Nov. 25 after a visit from the convict's son.
“I ... was about to escort offender Ersland, Jerome ... from the visiting room to the Mental Health unit,” Cpl. Link Logan wrote in an incident report. “I saw offender Ersland pick something up off a table and put it in his left front pocket. I asked offender Ersland what he put in his pocket and he said a candy bar.