Oklahoma appeals court urged to reject former pharmacist's claims that attorneys were inept

Former pharmacist Jerome Ersland is serving a life term in prison. He was convicted last year of first-degree murder for fatally shooting a wounded robber.
by Nolan Clay Published: November 8, 2012
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Key complaint

One of Ersland's key complaints is that Box refused to let him testify at trial in his own defense.

Ersland stated in an affidavit on Sept. 26, “Irven Box never discussed with me or gave me the option to testify at trial. He simply told me I would not be testifying.”

In the response, the assistant attorney general called the complaint “simply untrue.”

Self said the trial judge asked Ersland in detail about testifying and that Ersland responded he had discussed the issue with his attorneys and decided not to testify and that no one had forced him not to testify.

“The defendant is a well-educated man,” Self wrote. “There was no question that he understood his right to testify.”

Self also wrote that prosecutors would have completely impeached Ersland at trial with his many conflicting statements about the shooting.

“The defendant would no doubt now be claiming trial counsel was ineffective for allowing him to testify if he had in fact testified,” Self wrote in the state's response.


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by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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Background

What happened

In surveillance recordings admitted as evidence at trial, then-pharmacist Jerome Jay Ersland can be seen shooting the unarmed robber, Antwun Parker, 16, in the head inside the Reliable Discount Pharmacy. Ersland then chases away another robber, comes back inside the store, gets a second gun and shoots Parker five more times. Jurors at trial rejected his self-defense claim. Ersland's pharmacist license expired after he went to prison last year.

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