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More Ersland petitions given to governor

Sen. Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, says he will file a measure next year that would prohibit law officers from talking with people involved in self-defense shootings.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: November 2, 2011

Oklahomans involved in a self-defense shooting death should not have to talk with law officers for 48 hours, said a state lawmaker who maintains an Oklahoma City pharmacist was wrongfully prosecuted for fatally shooting an unarmed robber.

“Any effort that we can do as legislators to provide an extra layer of protection for the normal, everyday citizen who is attacked, we need to do that,” Sen. Ralph Shortey said Tuesday.

Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, made the comments after helping deliver more petitions to the governor's office showing support for Jerome Jay Ersland, who was sentenced in July to life in prison for slaying an unarmed robber inside a south Oklahoma City pharmacy.

Shortey said he chose the 48-hour protection for people involved in self-defense shootings based on policies of several police departments that prohibit officers from interviewing a fellow officer involved in deaths for at least 48 hours, other than a brief interview at the scene.

“That's a buffer time for them to collect their thoughts, get the emotional issues behind them as best as possible and to give them some protections there,” he said. “If we afford those to police officers, we should afford the same protection to our citizens.

“In this situation, Jerome would have had another layer of protection that would have protected him from misspeaking.”

In the hours after the shooting, Ersland told police an account that did not match videotape recordings. Prosecutors said Ersland changed his story after the recording became public.

The petition drive organizer, Karen Monahan, along with Shortey, delivered about 2,500 signatures to the governor's staff. Ersland, who turned 60 on Monday, is serving a life sentence after being convicted of first-degree murder for fatally shooting a wounded, unarmed robber two years ago. Ersland maintained he was defending himself and two female co-workers when he shot the 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.

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