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Reliable Pharmacy's insurance company wants out of paying for fatal shooting of robber

Pharmacist Jerome Ersland was found guilty of shooting a man who tried to rob the pharmacy, and the robber's mother is suing Ersland and the insurance company.
BY NOLAN CLAY nclay@opubco.com Published: June 15, 2011

An insurance company says it doesn't have to pay any damages over the fatal shooting of a robber inside an Oklahoma City drugstore.

Pharmacists Mutual Insurance Co. insured Reliable Discount Pharmacy and its owner, Doug Sisemore. Two years ago, an employee there, pharmacist Jerome Jay Ersland, fatally shot a robber, Antwun Parker, 16.

Ersland was found guilty May 26 of first-degree murder for the shooting. The robber's mother, Cleta Jennings, on May 17 filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Ersland and Reliable Discount Pharmacy.

The insurance company filed its own lawsuit Tuesday. It is asking Oklahoma County District Judge Dan Owens to rule its policy with the Reliable Discount Pharmacy does not cover Ersland's actions.

It says coverage under the policy is never triggered by Ersland's “deliberate and intentional shooting” of the robber.

It also wants the judge to rule it has no duty to pay for any judgment against Ersland. It also said it should not have to pay for Ersland to have an attorney in the civil case.

At his criminal trial, prosecutors said Ersland, 59, went too far, shooting the unarmed robber five more times after knocking out the robber with a shot to the head.

Ersland's attorneys said he was a hero who defended two female co-workers and himself.

Jurors chose a life term as punishment. The verdict renewed debate about the pharmacist's actions. Many have called it an injustice.