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New attorney says former pharmacist convicted of murder may have mental condition

The new attorney for former pharmacist Jerome Ersland revealed Wednesday that Ersland may have Asperger's syndrome. The attorney is appealing Ersland's murder conviction for fatally shooting a wounded robber.
by Nolan Clay Published: July 18, 2012

Contacted after the news conference, Box said he worked extremely hard in trying to persuade the jury Ersland was justified “in what he did.”

About Asperger's syndrome, Box said, “There were suggestions that Mr. Ersland had a lot of problems. We sought medical and professional advice in regards to this. ... We used every tool we thought was available to us to assist in his defense.”

Box acknowledged he did not want Ersland to testify at trial because Ersland had given so many different versions of what happened inside the pharmacy.

An Oklahoma County jury in May 2011 found Ersland guilty of first-degree murder for fatally shooting Antwun Parker, 16, inside the pharmacy.

Parker and a friend, Jevontai Ingram, then 14, went into the drugstore in south Oklahoma City near closing time May 19, 2009, at the urging of two men.

The men gave Ingram a gun, according to testimony in the criminal case. Parker was unarmed.

Ersland shot Parker in the head as the boy pulled on a mask inside the store, according to surveillance recordings. He then chased after Ingram, who ran outside. He then came back inside the store, got a second gun and shot Parker five more times.

Ersland admitted to the shooting but gave statements about what happened that did not match what can be seen on the surveillance recordings.

Prosecutors at his trial contended he went too far when he shot Parker again because the unarmed robber by then was unconscious from the head wound and not moving on the floor.

Box told jurors at trial that Ersland was a hero who defended two female co-workers and himself.

Jurors afterward said the recordings from the security cameras proved Ersland was not in fear of the fallen robber when he came back inside the drugstore and got the second gun.

Ersland's pharmacy license expired after he went to prison.

Box had been helping Ersland in his appeal. Ersland fired Box in April and hired Friesen, who focuses in his law practice on gun rights issues. has disabled the comments for this article.