Defense attorneys to appeal judge's decision to stay in pharmacist's murder case

BY NOLAN CLAY nclay@opubco.com Published: December 14, 2010

The judge pointed out Monday that Irven Box made a $500 donation in April to his re-election campaign. The judge also pointed out that Irven Box on Nov. 1 let a Hispanic drug offender “blind plea” to him. In a blind plea, the judge decides the punishment.

“Neither of these actions reflects any actual concern,” the judge said.

During the public hearing last week, Isla Box testified the judge on Aug. 30 also said about his roofers, “If they needed somebody to hold a shotgun to their heads to get them back across the border, he'd be the first to volunteer.”

The judge has denied making that statement. After the ruling, Irven Box told reporters the judge “wasn't telling the truth.”

Irven Box told reporters another attorney came forward this weekend who is now willing to say he overheard the judge make the shotgun statement and other vile remarks about Hispanics.

Irven Box asked Elliott on Monday to let him put on more evidence. The judge refused. The Oklahoman learned the attorney is Michael S. Johnson of Oklahoma City. Johnson told The Oklahoman he would not comment.

District Attorney David Prater called the judge's ruling “very legally sound.” The prosecutor again said defense attorneys are playing games to delay the trial. Prater called Elliott “tough, but fair.”

Ersland, 59, was charged with first-degree murder after he shot a masked robber six times in May 2009 inside Reliable Discount Pharmacy in south Oklahoma City. Killed was Antwun “Speedy” Parker, 16, of Oklahoma City.

Ersland, who lives in Chickasha, has said he acted to defend himself and two female employees. Prosecutors say Ersland went too far when he fired the last five shots, in effect executing an unconscious, unarmed robber.

His attorneys have five days to appeal to Oklahoma County's chief judge. Attorneys can appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeals if the chief judge refuses to remove Elliott.

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