Oklahoma City pharmacist's supporters seek pardon; attorneys begin appeal

Oklahoma City pharmacist Jerome Jay Ersland was convicted Thursday of first-degree murder for fatally shooting a robber.
BY NOLAN CLAY nclay@opubco.com Modified: May 28, 2011 at 1:02 am •  Published: May 28, 2011

About the trial

Prosecutors called Ersland an executioner. They said he killed an unarmed, unconscious boy who was no longer a threat and then lied to police to make himself look like a hero. Ersland was charged after prosecutors reviewed security camera recordings that contradicted his police statement.

Defense attorneys said he was a hero who protected himself and two female co-workers during an armed robbery.

The security camera recordings show Parker and a friend, Jevontai Ingram, then 14, rush into the drugstore. Ingram points a handgun at the two female workers who flee to a backroom. Parker, who does not have a gun, tries to adjust a gray mask. Parker drops to the floor when the pharmacist shoots him in the head.

The recordings show Ingram flees from the store. Ersland follows the fleeing robber outside, then returns to the store, walks by where Parker has fallen, gets a second gun, walks back to Parker and shoots five more times.

The last shots were fired from 18 to 24 inches away and struck Parker in the abdomen and chest, according to the testimony.

The sequence of events happens over a minute and 2 seconds, according to the evidence. Police said Ingram never fired his gun inside the store.

The security camera recordings do not show Parker again after he falls on his back. Prosecutors said physical evidence proves the boy never moved on the floor. Prosecutors also said Ersland obviously did not think of the boy as a threat because he walked right over the boy and has his back to the boy as he gets the second gun.

Defense attorneys contended Parker could have moved his arms or feet, even while unconscious, and been perceived as a threat.

District Attorney David Prater told jurors only the first shot at Parker was justified.

Defense attorneys are expected in their appeal to focus on the trial judge's rulings against them. Ersland on Wednesday complained the trial was unfair because the judge barred testimony from other robbery victims about the stress they endured.

“That's what killed us was the witness deal,” Ersland said Wednesday. “I had real good witnesses.”

One of the barred witnesses was Chad Jones, a pharmacist in Chelsea, in far northeast Oklahoma. An armed robber wanting drugs beat Jones and an employee with a hammer in 2007. Jones, 34, said Friday he would have told the jury, “You don't know what you would do until you're in that situation.”

The verdict is making pharmacists uncertain, Jones said.

“I mean, what do we do now? How do we protect ourselves now?” Jones said. “What if someone were to come into our pharmacy? … Can we defend ourselves? No, because we may get murder one.”


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