Supporters of pharmacist Jerome Jay Ersland delivered petitions Thursday to Gov. Mary Fallin's office to start a process they hope will lead to his pardon in a murder case.
Ersland, 59, was convicted in May of first-degree murder for fatally shooting a wounded, unarmed robber inside a south Oklahoma City drugstore in 2009. Jurors chose a life term as punishment. Formal sentencing is Monday.
Petition-drive organizer Karen Monahan took stacks of petitions out of a bag inside the governor's office. She said those stacks had 17,066 signatures. She said other petitions with 5,000 to 10,000 signatures will be delivered later.
Monahan and the pharmacist's son, Jeff Ersland, handed the petitions over to Rebecca Frazier, a deputy legal counsel in the governor's office.
Jerome Ersland is in surprisingly high spirits, the son said.
Fallin's office previously has said a convict wanting relief from the governor must petition the Pardon and Parole Board first.
The request goes to the governor for consideration if the majority of the board recommends a pardon or commutation.
The petition reads: “We the people of the state of Oklahoma feel our Justice System has let us down on ... the Jerome Ersland case. We are in shock and outrage but more importantly we fear for the safety of our homes and businesses.”