Testimony under way in trial of Oklahoma City pharmacist

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said in an opening statement Friday that pharmacist Jerome Jay Ersland was not a hero, but a murderer.
BY NOLAN CLAY nclay@opubco.com Modified: May 20, 2011 at 10:11 pm •  Published: May 20, 2011

Pharmacist Jerome Jay Ersland spoke to police about fatally shooting a robber inside an Oklahoma City drugstore in a way that “made him sound like a hero,” but the evidence will show he is not, a prosecutor told a jury Friday.

For his opening statement, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater re-enacted in front of jurors what he said they will see on recordings from security cameras at Reliable Discount Pharmacy.

“Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom,” Prater said as he pointed at the courtroom floor and told jurors the pharmacist stood over a wounded, unmoving robber and shot him five more times.

“He was not a hero. He was a murderer,” Prater said.

The district attorney said what Ersland told police does not match the recordings. He said the pharmacist changed his account of what happened after the recordings became public. Prater also told jurors Ersland continuously has attempted to make up evidence, even faking having bullet fragments in his arm.

Ersland, 59, contends he acted in self-defense. Defense attorney Joe Reynolds told jurors Friday that Ersland is a law-abiding citizen who was honorably discharged from the Army and Air Force.

The defense attorney said the bottom line is that the pharmacist, after chasing another robber outside the store, came back inside 24 second later and still believed the robber there was a threat. He acknowledged to the jury that Ersland after the shooting has “said some things and acted in some ways that are far from ordinary.” The attorney suggested that was because of stress from surviving something “like this.”

The masked robber, Antwun “Speedy” Parker, 16, of Oklahoma City, died May 19, 2009, after being shot first in the head then, less than a minute later, five more times to the body. An armed accomplice, Jevontai “Daddy O” Ingram, then 14, was caught days after running from the pharmacy. He has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for his role in his friend's death.

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