Former pharmacist convicted of murder caught with contraband in prison, officials say

Convicted murderer Jerome Jay Ersland was caught with contraband — a powerful pain reliever — in prison, corrections officials report. Ersland is the former pharmacist who is serving a life sentence for fatally shooting a wounded robber.
by Nolan Clay Published: November 30, 2012

Jerome Ersland's appeals attorney, Doug Friesen, said Thursday, “I know that he's been in a lot of pain but it would certainly be unfortunate — if in fact it turns out to be true — that his son, maybe out of a misguided sense of trying to help his dad, was smuggling contraband.”

Jerome Ersland could be disciplined after a hearing, Corrections Department spokesman Jerry Massie said.

“You could be placed in a disciplinary unit for a period of time. You could lose privileges. You could have restrictions on the amount of canteen you can buy, things like that,” Massie said of the possible punishments.

Appeal is pending

A jury last year found Jerome Ersland guilty of first-degree murder for fatally shooting Antwun Parker, 16. Jurors rejected his self-defense claim. His appeal is pending at the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.

Ersland's pharmacist license expired after he went to prison last year.

Ersland wore a back brace for years working as a pharmacist.

He was prescribed powerful morphine-based medicine, records show. He told the police and news media before his trial that he suffered from an inoperable back injury.

He specifically 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 showed he had been in Oklahoma — not in combat in Iraq — during the war in 1991. Also, X-rays taken in the Oklahoma County jail after his conviction showed none of his vertebrae were fractured.

Friesen said Jerome Ersland is not getting any pain medication in prison.

The attorney confirmed Jerome Ersland took a prescribed morphine derivative before being incarcerated after his conviction.

“He admits that his mind is a lot clearer now than it was up to the time of trial,” the attorney said. “He did not realize how much it was affecting him.”

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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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