Lawyer says toll affects druggist Jerome Jay Ersland

Nolan Clay Published: June 27, 2009
A pharmacist charged with first-degree murder has started mental health counseling, his defense attorney said Friday after his arraignment.

Jerome Jay Ersland, 57, of Chickasha is accused of going too far when he fatally shot a robber May 19 at Reliable Discount Pharmacy in Oklahoma City. Killed was Antwun "Speedy” Parker, 16.

Ersland is getting counseling to deal with trauma from the robbery and the shooting, his attorney said. Another teen pointed a gun at Ersland during the robbery before fleeing, according to reports and a surveillance video.

"Well, it’s been pretty rough for him,” Ersland’s attorney Irven Box said. "He has been at work. ... He’s doing as well as could be expected.”

Ersland continues to have community support, his attorney said.

"I believe the majority of Oklahomans believe that what he did was justified,” Box said.

Ersland was arraigned before Oklahoma County Special Judge Russell Hall. The pharmacist did not speak. The judge notified Ersland of his charge, his bail amount and his next court date — Sept. 3. Ersland was not required to enter a plea. The process lasted about two minutes. He remains free on $100,000 bail.

The next court date is a preliminary hearing conference. Prosecutors and his attorneys are set to confer then to determine whether the case is ready for a preliminary hearing. In court Friday, Ersland wore a back brace, an ankle monitor, a suit and a tie.

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