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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 Modified: August 11, 2011 at 9:52 pm •  Published: August 11, 2011

Jeff Ersland said his father is “very appreciative of what the people are trying to do as he waits his sentence time out in prison.” He said the signatures are from people in Oklahoma as well as from every state and from 26 countries.

“It is a remarkable moment in my life, to see this amount of support for this injustice on a worldwide level,” he said. “We hope the Governor Fallin will soon get a recommendation from the Pardon and Parole Board that will allow my dad ... to be pardoned from his conviction of first-degree murder with a life sentence.”

The governor has the power to pardon a convict or commute a prison sentence. Fallin has said the pharmacist's case will head to her if a majority of the Pardon and Parole Board members recommend clemency.

Under current law, Ersland will have to serve more than 38 years before he is eligible for parole, but parole board members could vote to take up his case sooner. Ersland has said he will appeal his conviction. He likely will die in prison unless he wins on appeal, the law is changed or a governor grants clemency.

Ersland was convicted in May of first-degree murder for fatally shooting an unarmed robber inside the Reliable Discount Pharmacy in May 2009.

Prosecutors said the fallen robber, Antwun “Speedy” Parker, 16, was unconscious from a shot to the head when Ersland got a second gun and shot him five more times. A second robber, Jevontai Ingram, then 14, did have a gun, but had already fled.