Pharmacist wants Oklahoma County prosecutor off murder case

Jerome Ersland faces trial Dec. 6, but it may be delayed if the district attorney is disqualified.
BY NOLAN CLAY Modified: October 2, 2010 at 1:08 am •  Published: October 2, 2010

Prater said Friday that he was justified in releasing the video. The district attorney said he had to explain to the public that they have a right to defend themselves but that there is a line they can't cross if there is no longer an imminent threat. He said the video release had a legitimate law enforcement purpose.

Defense attorneys also criticized prosecutors' efforts to remove the original trial judge from the case. They complain they were not allowed to participate in prosecutors' initial meetings with that judge.

District Judge Tammy Bass-LeSure took herself off the case Aug. 31.

Prosecutors were upset with Bass-LeSure after learning she had in July given the names of three attorneys to a gym trainer with a pending drug case assigned to her. One of the names was Joe Brett Reynolds, one of the pharmacist's attorneys.

In their request, defense attorneys also questioned why it took so long for prosecutors to ask Bass-LeSure to quit the case. The attorneys said prosecutors first learned of a problem on July 12 then confirmed it July 22 when prosecutors had the trainer secretly record a meeting with the judge.

Defense attorneys suggested — but did not directly allege — that prosecutors waited until Elliott was next in line to get a murder case. Elliott is a former prosecutor who has a reputation for toughness.

Prater said he did not know who would get the case if Bass-LeSure stepped aside. The district attorney also said he acted against Bass-LeSure when he did because he had to complete an investigation.

The other robber inside the pharmacy, Ingram, pleaded guilty in January to first-degree murder for Parker's death. Ingram, now 16, is being held in a juvenile detention center.

In a related development Friday, District Judge Kenneth Watson refused to dismiss a first-degree murder charge against a man accused of coercing the two teenagers into doing the robbery.

Anthony D. Morrison, 44, is charged under Oklahoma's felony murder law, which allows a robber to be charged with murder if an accomplice dies during the crime. His attorneys argued the robbery was over by the time the pharmacist fired the fatal shots so the felony murder law does not apply.

Watson, though, ruled Morrison is properly charged. The judge said he feels the felony murder law is overly broad but it is up to the Legislature or Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to correct it.


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