OKLAHOMA CITY – Nearly five years after shooting and killing an attempted robber, a former Oklahoma pharmacist is seeking a new trial.
Jerome Ersland is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder for the death of 16-year-old Antwun Parker.
Ersland claimed he was trying to protect his store and his employees after the teens attempted to rob the Reliable Pharmacy.
However, a jury found that he went too far when he shot an unarmed Parker several times.
On Wednesday, Doug Friesen, Ersland’s attorney, filed an application for post-conviction relief.
Friesen says there is new evidence that was not available at trial that could have affected the outcome of the case.
In the application, Friesen says the location of the second gun that was used in the shooting was wrong during trial, which he claims was a key piece of evidence in the prosecutions’ case for first-degree murder.
Also, Friesen says his client suffers from PTSD and could not accurately describe what happened for trial because of the disorder.
Even Ersland’s attorney admits this is an uphill fight.
It’s highly unlikely the courts will grant Ersland a new trial, but the attorney claims a recent re-enactment of the shooting led to some important new evidence.
In his first interviews with police, Ersland’s account of what happened simply did not mirror reality.
“There’s no question he embellished stuff in the interview. No question,” said attorney Doug Friesen.
Friesen now says Ersland suffered from PTSD, which went undiagnosed before trial, that clearly hurt Ersland’s character in the eyes of the jurors who eventually convicted the pharmacist of murder.
Friesen also says Ersland claimed from day one that a bullet whizzed past his head during the robbery, but police say Parker never fired any shots.
The defense now says there’s an explanation for that difference.
“The bullets didn’t just drop. They richocheted. It was his own bullet that almost hit him,” said Friesen. “The fact was he almost shot himself. All of this was never presented to the jury because the previous attorney didn’t know this.”
District Attorney David Prater could not comment on the request for a new trial.
Even if a district court judge denies the request, that could be appealed.