Oklahoma City pharmacist convicted of murder describes jail as “like being in Hell”

Jerome Jay Ersland's attorney reported that the pharmacist is getting death threats. Oklahoma County sheriff says Ersland is safe.
BY NOLAN CLAY nclay@opubco.com Published: June 3, 2011
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©Copyright 2011, The Oklahoman

In notes from jail, the Oklahoma City pharmacist convicted of murder wrote he “will not survive long here” and “it is … like being in Hell.”

Jerome Jay Ersland, 59, also complained he is getting death threats.

Ersland showed no expression May 26 when a judge announced the jury had found him guilty of first-degree murder for fatally shooting a masked robber. The jury chose a life term as punishment.

“My look was ‘total shock,'” he wrote The Oklahoman on Thursday in a brief note explaining his lack of reaction. “I knew I was doomed forever then.”

The verdict has renewed debate about his case. Many call the outcome an injustice. Supporters say in the last week they have gathered more than 9,000 signatures on petitions asking the governor to intervene.

“It's been great,” said petition organizer, Karen Monahan, of Oklahoma City. She and Ersland are friends.

One supporter, Jan Laudermilk, 66, made a 100-mile round trip Thursday to get petitions to collect signatures in Meeker. “I don't think it was fair what they done to him,” said Laudermilk, who has never met the pharmacist.

Ersland, of Chickasha, had been free on $100,000 bail. He has been held in the Oklahoma County jail since the verdict. Formal sentencing is Monday, July 11.

“I am being treated like I am at Andersonville (in the Civil War) as they cut off all my medications,” Ersland wrote Thursday.

Ersland, a war buff, was referring to the infamous Confederate prisoner-of-war camp in Georgia. Almost 13,000 captured Union soldiers died there.

Ersland killed Antwun “Speedy” Parker, 16, inside Reliable Discount Pharmacy in south Oklahoma City on May 19, 2009.

Prosecutors told jurors Ersland went too far when he shot the unconscious, unarmed teen five more times after shooting him in the head.


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