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.”
Hearing testimonyMuch 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. Tom Bevel, the blood spatter expert, testified blood drips would have been on the floor or Parker’s shirt if Parker had tried to get up after the head wound. The security camera recordings do not show Parker after he is hit in the head. They do show Ersland standing over where Parker fell, firing the final shots. The recordings also show the pharmacist chased the first robber out of the store after Parker was hit in the head. The pharmacist fired the fatal shots into Parker after returning to the store and getting a second gun. Police detective David Jacobson said Ersland has given inconsistent statements to police and to news reporters about the shooting. The detective said Ersland told police he shot Parker five more times before chasing the other robber outside because Parker "wouldn’t go down.” Jacobson also testified that the pharmacist claimed to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder from killing people during combat in the 1991 Gulf War. "He had dreams about it,” the detective testified. The detective testified Ersland also said he had been injured in combat, that his vertebra had been blasted. The detective said a review of Ersland’s military records show his claims about combat are not true. Records reviewed by The Oklahoman show Ersland spent the war in 1991 as the pharmacy chief at the military hospital at Altus Air Force Base in southwestern Oklahoma. Ryan Porter, another police detective on the case, testified the security camera recordings prove Ersland did not consider Parker a threat after Parker fell down. The detective said Ersland "walks right by ignoring” the robber as he goes to get a second gun and also "has his back to” the fallen robber for several steps. After the preliminary hearing, the district attorney questioned why Ersland has given repeated statements inconsistent with the facts if Ersland thinks he is in the right. "Why lie? Tell the truth,” Prater told reporters. "I’m not sure what was going through his head.” Of the shooting, the prosecutor told reporters, "You’ve got someone lying on the floor on their back, unconscious, with their arms out to their side and their palms up, and they’re clearly unarmed, and you walk up and stick a gun about two feet from their chest and you put five bullets into their abdomen, that’s an execution.”
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