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Druggist Jerome Ersland released after supporter arranges bail

BY NOLAN CLAY Modified: May 29, 2009 at 5:01 pm •  Published: May 29, 2009
A pharmacist charged with first-degree murder was barred Thursday from any access to guns, knives or other weapons while out on $100,000 bail.

Jerome Jay Ersland, 57, of Chickasha was released from the Oklahoma County jail Thursday afternoon after a supporter arranged for the bail, defense attorney Irven Box said.

District Judge Tammy Bass-LeSure set the bail amount. Most defendants charged with first-degree murder in Oklahoma County are denied bail, but prosecutors did not object to Ersland being freed.

The judge ordered the weapons restriction after she watched a video of the pharmacist shooting robbery suspect Antwun Parker, 16, on May 19 at Reliable Discount Pharmacy in south Oklahoma City.

In a twist in the already unusual case, District Attorney David Prater asked the judge to allow Ersland to have access to a gun at work in case the pharmacy is robbed again. The prosecutor said his position "sounds crazy” but he insisted that under the law Ersland has the right to defend himself and others at the pharmacy. At one point, spectators in the courtroom clapped in support of his statements.

The district attorney said he worried crooks now will know it is "open season” at the pharmacy if Ersland is there. He also said Ersland could be fired.

Prater said the pharmacist would not be in court if the two robbers had not come into the drugstore. The judge said, "Then, why did you charge him, Mr. Prater?” The district attorney replied that Ersland went too far.

A clearly irritated Prater also told the judge, "I’m the one who filed the charge so my butt’s on the line.”

The judge, though, refused to change the restriction, saying Ersland could get another job.

"I am going to limit his access to guns,” the judge said. "If someone wants to be around him, they are not going to have access to guns.”

Prater told her, "That’s wrong.” After the hearing, the district attorney said to Ersland, "I want you to be treated fairly.”

The pharmacist was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder for shooting the suspect five more times in the abdomen after the suspect allegedly was incapacitated from a shot to the head. View an animated graphic detailing the chain of events has disabled the comments for this article.

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