Oklahoma City attorney says he will represent Jerome Ersland for free

Former pharmacist Jerome Ersland, in prison for murder, has hired a gun-rights expert, Oklahoma City attorney Doug Friesen. Ersland was convicted at a jury trial last year of first-degree murder for killing off a wounded robber.
by Nolan Clay Modified: April 11, 2012 at 9:09 pm •  Published: April 11, 2012

Shortey and another supporter, Karen Monahan, last visited Ersland in prison Friday. Ersland told them then he was ready to switch attorneys.

“He's lost all the color out of his hair because of the stress of the situation, but he's not given up,” the senator said. “His resolve is stronger now than it has ever been.”

About the case

An Oklahoma County jury last May 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 Reliable Discount Pharmacy 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.

Ersland's attorneys at trial said he 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 “never even glanced at him,” one juror said.

Ersland did not testify at his trial. His pharmacy license expired after he went to prison.

At the news conference Wednesday, Friesen said, “I have represented numerous police officers in reference to shootings, and I can tell you the one universal fact that I always see in these instances is that people go into shock.”

The attorney said it was not unusual that Ersland described things about the shooting that didn't actually happen.

“When the masked robbers came through the door, all rational thought stopped at that point and did not start again until much later,” he said. “Your mind rewrites those situations in your head.”

Ersland told The Oklahoman before trial that he was broke after spending more than $100,000 on his defense.

NewsOK.com has disabled the comments for this article.
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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