The Oklahoma City pharmacist convicted of murder for fatally shooting a robber has fired his attorney. Jerome Ersland fired Oklahoma City attorney Irven Box by letter.
“I no longer desire your services on my case as of April 6,” Ersland wrote Box in the notarized termination letter.
Box, a longtime Oklahoma City attorney, began representing Ersland shortly after the 2009 shooting. Box was the pharmacist's lead attorney at the murder trial last year. Box already has begun Ersland's appeal at the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.
Box said the letter was delivered to his law office Tuesday.
“I wish him the best,” Box said.
Representing Ersland now is Doug Friesen, an Oklahoma City attorney who specializes in cases involving gun rights. In an online letter to gun owners, Friesen calls himself “Your Gun Lawyer.”
A news conference is set for Wednesday morning at Friesen's law office.
Ersland changed attorneys because he was unhappy with his appeal, supporter Karen Monahan said Tuesday.
She and another supporter, Sen. Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, visited Ersland in prison Friday. “He didn't like the appeal at all. He just said with that appeal, he didn't think he had a chance. ... That's kind of what turned him right there,” Monahan said.
An Oklahoma County jury found Ersland guilty of first-degree murder for fatally shooting Antwun Parker, 16, inside the pharmacy. Ersland, 60, was sentenced to a life term in prison.
Parker and a friend, Jevontai Ingram, then 14, went into the Reliable Discount Pharmacy in south Oklahoma City near closing time May 19, 2009, at the urging of two men. They had been told to ask for the prescription drug OxyContin.
The men gave Ingram a gun, according to testimony in the criminal case. Parker was unarmed.
The pharmacist shot Parker in the head as the boy pulled on a mask inside the store, according to surveillance recordings. He then chased Ingram outside. He next came back inside the store, got a second gun and shot Parker five more times.
Ersland admitted to the shooting but gave conflicting accounts of what happened.
Prosecutors at his trial contended he went too far when he shot Parker again because the unarmed robber by then was unconscious from the head wound and not moving on the floor.
Ersland's attorneys said he was a hero who defended two female co-workers and himself.