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Oklahoma City pharmacist found guilty of murder

Jury chooses a life term as punishment.
BY NOLAN CLAY Published: May 27, 2011

Box called the pharmacist a hero who had the courage to tell his two co-workers to go hide while he took care of the two robbers.

The second robber, Jevontai Ingram, then 14, fled. Ingram pulled out a gun inside the pharmacy but did not fire it, according to testimony. He was caught days later. He has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for his role in his friend's death. He will be released from a juvenile detention facility before his 19th birthday if he completes a treatment plan.

In his closing argument, Box had jurors close their eyes and imagine they were in the pharmacy when the two robbers come in, one pointing a gun and pulling back on the gun's slide. He asked jurors to imagine shooting one robber, chasing the other and coming back in the pharmacy, with an empty gun, where the first robber still was.

He then asked jurors to open their eyes and told them 45 second had passed. He said that's how much time passed for the pharmacist before he shot again.

“This wasn't a basketball game where he can call a timeout,” Box said.

Prosecutors told jurors in closing arguments Thursday that the evidence proves Parker never moved again after a shot to the head knocked him to the pharmacy floor. They said Ersland's own actions prove he didn't consider the wounded robber a threat when he shot him again.

“Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, an execution,” District Attorney David Prater said.

During the closing arguments, Prater played for jurors again the security camera recordings of the shooting. He stopped it at points, telling jurors the pharmacist turned his back to the downed robber to get a second gun to shoot the robber again.

“It's a human trait. You don't turn your back on something you're afraid of,” Prater said.

Prosecutors told jurors Ersland lied to police about what happened during the shooting, trying to come up with a good story to cover his wrongdoing. They said he underestimated how much homicide detectives would investigate.

They also reminded jurors he had lied about killing people during the first Gulf War. They said his military records show he was at Altus Air Force Base in 1991 and never was in combat.

Prosecutors also reminded jurors of testimony Ersland had faked a gunshot wound in an effort to support his defense. “He lies about everything,” Prater said.

Box conceded that the pharmacist has said some “goofy things” and had facts wrong in his police interview and about his military record. He argued that didn't change what the pharmacist perceived inside the pharmacy.

Jurors were given the option of finding Ersland guilty of first-degree manslaughter instead or of acquitting him completely.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys have been ordered not to comment on the case until after the formal sentencing. An appeal is expected.

Ersland had been free on $100,000 bail. He had a handcuff key on him when he went through a courthouse security checkpoint Thursday morning, sheriff deputies said. He gave up the handcuff key when confronted about it.

Earlier this month, another jury convicted the two men who planned the drugstore robbery of first-degree murder. That jury decided Emanuel D. “E Man” Mitchell, 33, and Anthony D. “Black” Morrison, 45, should spend life in prison. The two talked the teenagers into doing the robbery and waited nearby in getaway cars.

Ongoing Coverage: Jerome Ersland