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.
“I had offender Ersland show me what was in his pocket and he gave me two transparent transdermal Fentanyl patches.”
The corporal reported he took the patches to the prison's medical area and was told there that “they were stronger than morphine.”
A Corrections Department internal affairs agent reported Jeffrey Ersland twice admitted in phone calls to bringing in the patches.
In the first phone call, Nov. 26, the son told a prison captain “he knew what he had done was wrong and … he knew he would be in trouble for what he had done,” according to the agent's affidavit.
The internal affairs agent, Ryan Kinsey wrote he personally talked to the son on the phone Nov. 30. The agent wrote the son “stated that he made a mistake and was scared and had done this because he wanted to help his dad because he is in so much pain.”
Jerome Ersland was the only pharmacist on duty at the Reliable Discount Pharmacy when two robbers came in near closing time on May 19, 2009. He chased one armed robber away and killed the second, unarmed robber.
Prosecutors said the second robber, Antwun Parker, 16, was unconscious and not moving on the floor from a head shot when Jerome Ersland got a second gun and fired five more shots into the boy's body. An Oklahoma County jury rejected his claim that he was defending himself and two female co-workers.
Jerome Ersland wore a back brace while working as a pharmacist.
He had been prescribed powerful morphine-based medicine, records show.
After the shooting, he told police detectives that one of his vertebrae got fractured into thirds during an artillery attack in Iraq in the first Gulf War.
Military records, however, showed he actually had been at an air force base in Oklahoma — not in combat in Iraq — during the war in 1991.
Also, X-rays taken in the Oklahoma County jail showed none of his vertebrae were fractured.
His pharmacist license expired after he went to prison.