Judge in OKC pharmacist's case to announce ruling Monday

Defense attorneys want District Judge Ray C. Elliott to step down in the murder trial of pharmacist Jerome Jay Ersland, who is accused of killing Antwun “Speedy” Parker, 16, of Oklahoma City, during a robbery at Reliable Discount Pharmacy.
BY NOLAN CLAY nclay@opubco.com Modified: December 8, 2010 at 6:30 am •  Published: December 8, 2010

His former clerk, Isla Box, testified Monday that the judge also said Aug. 30, “If they needed somebody to hold a shotgun to their heads to get them back across the border, he'd be the first to volunteer.” She also testified the judge has made other derogatory statements about Hispanics

Also, Irven Box testified Monday that he overheard the judge in the spring tell his female bailiff “to hurry up and have 10 white babies because the Mexicans are going to catch up with us.” The bailiff, Tarryn Henderson, said Monday, “I don't remember that.”

The judge Tuesday said he did ask his wife Sept. 1 for a 2000 appellate opinion that prohibited a television broadcast of Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols' state preliminary hearing.

He said he had left his own copy of the opinion at home and does not know how to use his courthouse computer.

His wife, Sandra Elliott, said Monday she thinks she got a copy of that legal opinion to him. She also said they don't talk about his cases. “He knows what he's doing. He doesn't need my advice,” she said.

Testifying as a character witness for the judge Tuesday was a fellow district judge, Kenneth Watson, who is black. Watson said Elliott was always fair to defendants when Elliott was prosecutor and is fair now as a judge. Watson said he has never seen any signs of racism in Elliott.

“I value his opinion. ... I trust his judgment,” Watson said.

Oklahoma County Public Defender Bob Ravitz also said Elliott is not biased against any racial group. Ravitz said it is ridiculous to focus on one regretted statement made in 30 years of legal service

“I don't think anybody in this courtroom would want to be judged that way,” Ravitz said.

Ersland, 59, was charged with first-degree murder after he shot a masked robber six times in May 2009 inside Reliable Discount Pharmacy in south Oklahoma City. Killed was Antwun “Speedy” Parker, 16, of Oklahoma City.

Ersland, who lives in Chickasha, has said he acted to defend himself and two female employees. Prosecutors say Ersland went too far when he fired the last five shots, in effect executing an unconscious, unarmed robber.

The trial has been delayed indefinitely.


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