The pharmacist who fatally shot a robber was ordered Wednesday to face a murder trial.
Oklahoma County Special Judge Greg Ryan agreed prosecutors had sufficient evidence against pharmacist Jerome Jay Ersland for trial.
The ruling came at a preliminary hearing after the judge watched two surveillance camera recordings of the shooting May 19 at the Reliable Discount Pharmacy in south Oklahoma City.
Ersland, 58, of Chickasha, is charged with first-degree murder. He gulped as the judge ruled. He once had expected to be cleared at his preliminary hearing, writing the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation in July that "justice will prevail shortly.”
District Attorney David Prater told the judge Ersland’s actions were "nothing less than an execution.” Defense attorney Irven Box argued Ersland should face trial only for first-degree manslaughter.
Ersland shot robber Antwun "Speedy” Parker once in the head then five times in the chest and abdomen. Parker was 16.
Parker and an accomplice, Jevontai Ingram, then 14, tried to rob the store of drugs and money at the direction of two longtime criminals, prosecutors allege. A pharmacy employee testified Wednesday one yelled at Ersland, "I’m going to shoot your ass.”
Prosecutors say the pharmacist went too far when he fired the last five shots because Parker was unconscious, unarmed and no longer a threat.
Ersland contends he was defending himself and two female employees from a masked robber who was still moving.
Box said he expects Ersland will be acquitted at trial particularly because the recordings show the other robber tried to shoot the pharmacist in the face. "Evidently he’s got no bullets, or it malfunctioned,” Box said, "I still don’t think there’s 12 people in this county that will find he’s guilty. … (Parker) was still a threat.”
Much of the testimony Wednesday focused on whether Parker was moving when he was shot the last five times.
Prosecutors put into evidence crime-scene photos that showed fallen merchandise was on top of Parker’s right arm and against his body and a blood pool beneath his head was undisturbed.
The state’s chief medical examiner, a renowned expert on blood spatter and a police detective testified that and other physical evidence proves he could not have been moving.
The medical examiner, Dr. Collie Trant, testified the five shots to the chest and abdomen were in a tight cluster. The pathologist testified those wounds would have been farther apart if Parker had been conscious because the victim would have moved after the first shot to the torso.
Ongoing Coverage: Pharmacy Shooting