Murderer attacks Oklahoma County DA after jurors find him and cousin guilty in pharmacy robbery case

BY NOLAN CLAY nclay@opubco.com Published: May 3, 2011

Prosecutors Monday told jurors the men were cowardly and predators for sending two boys in to rob the pharmacy.

The cousins were charged with first-degree murder after the pharmacist fatally shot one boy, Antwun “Speedy” Parker, 16. Morrison told police he was at his mother's house at the time. Mitchell testified Friday he just happened to be in the area at the time of the robbery because he was visiting an aunt who lives a few blocks away.

The key witness against them was the other robber, Jevontai Ingram, then 14.

Ingram already has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder.

Ingram testified last week the two men sent him and his friend into the pharmacy to get drugs to sell in Tulsa. He said Morrison gave him a gun, and Mitchell drove him and Parker to the pharmacy and had clothes and masks for disguises. He said he ran outside when the pharmacist began firing.

Morrison knew Ingram because the boy's mother had been a girlfriend, according to testimony.

The pharmacist, Jerome Jay Ersland, 59, faces his own murder trial in two weeks. Prosecutors allege he went too far when he shot Parker five more times after knocking him out and to the floor with a shot to the head. Ersland has said he was defending himself and two female co-workers.

Felony murder law

Morrison and Mitchell were charged under Oklahoma's felony murder law, which allows a robber to be convicted of murder if an accomplice dies during the robbery. The judge instructed jurors that escape is considered part of the crime.

Defense attorneys argued the felony murder law did not apply to this case. They told jurors that the attempt to rob the pharmacy was over when the pharmacist went back inside and shot Parker five more times.

Prater argued to jurors that the robbers still were fleeing. The prosecutor pointed out that only one minute and two seconds elapsed from the time the two boys came into the drugstore to when the pharmacist fired the last shot.

Prosecutors know the exact time because the robbery attempt and shooting was recorded by security cameras. Jurors saw the recordings Thursday.

Prater told jurors the crime is typical of what happens in neighborhoods — no matter what the racial makeup — where children who don't have fathers run wild in the streets and fall under the negative influence of predators.

“No surprise,” he told jurors. “Tragic, but no surprise.”

Parker's mother, Cleta Jennings, wept after jurors returned their guilty verdict. She said her son maybe now can rest in peace. “I'm so excited. I just thank God,” she said. “I miss him so much. I miss him so much. I think about him every day. … The Lord did it for us. And I'm so thankful.”

Mitchell had caused trouble before. District Judge Kenneth Watson warned him at the start of the trial to behave after deputies reported he threatened to assault his attorney. Mitchell also allegedly assaulted a cellmate last September.

Ongoing coverage: Pharmacy shooting

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