Governor gets more petitions supporting former city pharmacist

Petitions delivered Thursday to Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin's office bring the total to nearly 25,000 seeking a pardon for pharmacist Jerome Ersland. He was sentenced last month to life in prison for slaying an unarmed robber.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Modified: August 11, 2011 at 9:52 pm •  Published: August 11, 2011
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A pharmacist sentenced last month to life in prison for slaying an unarmed robber inside a south Oklahoma City pharmacy seems to be adjusting to prison, his son and a friend said Thursday. They made the comments as they brought more petitions to the governor in hopes of getting a pardon someday.

Jerome Jay Ersland, 59, is serving a life sentence after being convicted last month of first-degree murder for fatally shooting a wounded, unarmed robber two years ago. Ersland maintained he was defending himself and two female co-workers when he shot the robber

The petition-drive organizer, Karen Monahan, gave petitions signed by 7,252 people to a staff person in Gov. Mary Fallin's office at the state Capitol. She delivered petitions with 17,066 signatures last month.

Ersland recently was transferred to the Joseph Harp Correctional Center in Lexington, Monahan said.

His mood and spirits seem to be improving, based on a letter she received from him Wednesday, she said.

“This is the best I've heard him (sound) in years,” Monahan said, saying he had been depressed since the shooting.

His son, Jeff Ersland, agreed that his father seems to be doing better, especially since being transferred last month from the Oklahoma County jail.

“He's been sending me a few postcards each week and he seems a lot more optimistic and it seems like his quality of life has improved dramatically since he's been transferred,” he said. “He's actually got a cellmate now. He's got a TV, air conditioning. ... He gets to spend more time outside, gets more exercise.”

Visitors to be allowed

Jeff Ersland and Monahan said they hope to visit with him when he's allowed to have visitors, which should be within the month.

Monahan, a friend of the pharmacist, said petitions are available at businesses throughout the metro area. She said she goes to various gun shows with petitions and plans to be seeking petitions next month at the Oklahoma State Fair.

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