Convicted murderer Jerome Ersland pleads guilty to possession of contraband

Jerome Ersland, who is serving a life sentence for killing Antwun Parker, 16, during a robbery attempt at an Oklahoma City pharmacy in 2009, received two years more in prison Monday after he was found guilty of having fentanyl in prison.
by Nolan Clay Published: April 14, 2014

Convicted murderer Jerome Jay Ersland tried to look on the bright side of things Monday after pleading guilty to possession of contraband in prison.

“It was sure nice to get out of solitary,” he said as guards led him in chains from the Cleveland County courtroom.

Ersland, 62, is the former pharmacist who is serving a life sentence for fatally shooting an already wounded robber inside a south Oklahoma City drugstore in 2009.

His arrest in 2009 and murder conviction in 2011 touched off debates across the country over his actions. Thousands signed petitions after his trial calling the verdict an outrage.

His new felony conviction Monday is a blow to his hopes that a governor someday will pardon him or commute his sentence. “I think it will hurt his chances,” said his attorney, Doug Friesen.

Ersland was caught with the contraband, the powerful painkiller fentanyl, on Nov. 25, 2012, at the Joseph Harp Correctional Center in Lexington. A corrections officer reported finding two fentanyl patches on Ersland after he finished a weekend visit inside the prison with his son.

Ersland admitted in paperwork filed Monday that he had possessed a fentanyl patch.

Ersland was sentenced Monday to serve two more years in prison — if he ever completes his life term.

He is not eligible for parole on his murder case, though, until 2049.

“It’s just a sad situation,” his attorney said.

The Court of Criminal Appeals last June upheld Ersland’s conviction for first-degree murder.

His attorney is working on a second appeal of Ersland’s murder conviction. Friesen said he plans to ask Oklahoma County District Judge Ray C. Elliott for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence.

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by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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