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Oklahoma City pharmacist Jerome Ersland makes court appearance

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Modified: June 26, 2009 at 4:34 pm •  Published: June 26, 2009
The attorney for a pharmacist charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a would-be robber asserted Friday that most Oklahoma residents believe that the druggist was justified.

Jerome Ersland, 57, is accused in the May 19 death of 16-year-old Antwun Parker, who was shot six times as he and another teen tried to rob the pharmacy where Ersland works. During a brief arraignment hearing Friday, Ersland did not enter a plea and said nothing afterward. Ersland, a disabled veteran, wore an upper body brace beneath a blue blazer.

He was quickly ushered out of the Oklahoma County Courthouse by sheriff's deputies and his defense attorney, Irven Box.

Asked after the hearing if his client is innocent, Box replied: "I believe the majority of Oklahomans believe what he did was justified."

Oklahoma County Special Judge Russell B. Hall scheduled a conference in the case for Sept. 3, when a date for Ersland's preliminary hearing will be set.

Ersland remains free on $100,000 bond.

In a scene recorded by the drugstore's security camera, Ersland pulled a gun and shot Parker in the head and then chased the other would-be robber out of the store. He then went behind the counter, got another gun and pumped five more bullets into Parker as the wounded teenager lay on the floor.

Ersland, of Chickasha, claimed he was trying to defend himself and two employees.

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