Convicted murderer Jevontai Ingram is free, less than four years after he and a friend tried to rob a south Oklahoma City drugstore and his friend was fatally shot by a pharmacist there.
Ingram was 14 at the time of the May 19, 2009, stickup. Now 18, he has completed his time in juvenile detention.
Former pharmacist Jerome Ersland, 60, meanwhile, is serving a life sentence in prison for killing the second robber, Antwun “Speedy” Parker, 16.
In an interview Friday at his attorney's office, Ingram said he wants to go to high school and then college to play basketball. Eventually, he said, he wants to become a probation officer.
“That's what I want to do,” he told The Oklahoman. “I want to help people that's locked up.”
He said he isn't bothered what the public thinks.
“I don't worry about what they talk about,” he said. “I just do me.”
He said he learned a lot from being in juvenile detention such as not to “follow behind people that you know are going to get you in trouble.”
“I learned from my mistakes. There's more things for me to look forward to than to getting in trouble and worrying about what other people talking about,” he said.
His attorney, Michael Johnson, reminded him during the interview to keep a low profile and told him to delete his Facebook page. His attorney would not allow Ingram to pose for a photograph.
Ingram acknowledged that he may have to move out of state because of the publicity surrounding the case. Thousands have signed petitions critical of Ersland's conviction
“I am going to leave Oklahoma, whenever I get my money up,” he said at one point in the interview.
Ingram said that he no longer thinks about what happened.
“I try not to let that stuff get to me. Well, it don't get to me. I put it out of my head,” he said. “When it first happened, they (memories) just kept playing over and over and over. And, then, eventually it just started fading away.”
In surveillance recordings, Ingram can be seen wearing a mask and pointing a handgun inside the Reliable Discount Pharmacy.
Ingram fled when Ersland pulled out a gun and began firing, the recordings show.
Ersland shot the second robber, Parker, in the head as the boy pulled on a mask inside the store, according to the recordings. He then chased after Ingram, who ran outside. He then came back inside the store, got a second gun and shot Parker five more times.
Prosecutors at Ersland's trial last year contended he went too far when he shot Parker again because the unarmed robber by then was unconscious from the head wound and not moving on the floor.
A jury agreed, finding Ersland guilty of first-degree murder.
Ersland admitted to the shooting. His trial attorneys said Ersland courageously defended himself and two female co-workers. Ersland did not testify.
Hurting Ersland's case was that he had made multiple statements about what happened that did not match what can be seen on the surveillance recordings. His pharmacy license expired after he went to prison.
Ingram expressed no sympathy for Ersland.
“I don't like him,” Ingram said. “He just knew what he did. Then, he lied about a lot of things that he knew he did wrong and then he tried to hide the evidence about a lot of things.
“I think he deserved more than that.”
Witnesses said Ersland kept firing at Ingram outside the store. Ingram recalled hearing one bullet pass right by his ear while he was running.
Ingram said his gun wasn't loaded. He said he doesn't remember if he pulled on the trigger anyway inside the store. He smiled, though, as he recalled that he learned his “moves” — the way he held the gun inside the pharmacy — from the video game, “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.”
He said he now lives with an aunt and works part time at a restaurant. He has tried to enroll at an Oklahoma City high school but was rejected because of his record.
He said he plans to try to enroll at another high school, but his attorney urged him to pass a GED test and go on to college.
Ingram was in the eighth grade at the time of his 2009 arrest. He had been previously diagnosed as learning disabled, according to a psychological evaluation done while he was in custody.
The psychologist who examined Ingram reported Ingram scored 72 on an IQ test, “placing him overall in the borderline range of intellectual ability.”
Ingram was arrested a week after the robbery attempt. He was held in the Oklahoma County jail and then the Oklahoma County Juvenile Detention Center.
Prosecutors made a deal to treat him a youthful offender in exchange for his cooperation against the two men who recruited him and Parker to rob the drugstore for them. Both men were convicted at their trial last year of first-degree murder in part because of his testimony.
Under his deal, Ingram pleaded guilty on Jan. 8, 2010, to first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit armed robbery. He was charged under Oklahoma's “felony murder” law, which allows a robber to be charged with murder if an accomplice dies during the crime.
He was placed at the maximum-security L.E. Rader Center in Sand Springs on Feb. 25, 2010, and then transferred June 8, 2011, to the Southwest Oklahoma Juvenile Center in Manitou.
He was placed at a group home on Oct. 17, 2011, and was released from there May 17.
Overall, he spent about three years locked up. “I regret taking the deal,” he said. “I shouldn't be doing this time. Some time, but not three years.”
His attorney said Ingram was upset because his treatment program took longer than expected because the L.E. Rader Center was shut down before he finished.
After his release, he lived with his father at first and had to wear an ankle monitor. The ankle monitor was taken off July 23.
A judge could have ordered Ingram to prison for a life term if he had failed a treatment plan in detention.
That still could happen if he violates the law in the next five months. “I ain't worried about it though because I ain't going to get in trouble,” he said.
If he does stay out of trouble for five more months, his conviction will be expunged from his record, his attorney said.