Pharmacist appeals murder sentence in shooting

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OKLAHOMA CITY — There are new allegations of bias against an Oklahoma County judge made in a criminal appeal for metro pharmacist Jerome Ersland. Last year, Ersland was given life in prison for killing a teenage robbery suspect.

Antwun Parker, 16, died May 2009 during the botched robbery that took less than one minute to unfold.

In the appeal, Ersland’s attorney, Irven Box, raises concerns about Judge Ray Elliott receiving legal information from his wife, who is an Assistant District Attorney for Oklahoma County.

Box says the judge disproportionately overruled his objections.

Tuesday, he called Ersland’s murder conviction an “injustice.”

“There’s nothing in the statutes that says you must shoot a person only one time, two times, three times if a person threatens your life,” Box said. “We know the threats (by Parker) were there to blow his blankety-blank off.”

That’s one of several reasons why Box is asking the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to reverse Ersland’s first-degree murder conviction.

In his appeal, Box says, “Mr. Ersland did not initiate the armed robbery but believed the shooting was the only way to prevent injury to him and others.”

Box says at most, Ersland should have been charged with manslaughter.

He says Judge Elliott showed bias against Ersland by allowing jurors to see a computer simulation that showed what could not actually be seen on security video.

In the appeal, Box says “the computer simulation presented a figure of Antwun Parker that was motionless; a theory that could not be made, as no camera was positioned to see his body.”

“He could have made sounds,” Box said Tuesday. “He could have been moving within the first seconds.”

Box is also upset Judge Elliott did not allow two doctors to testify what Ersland’s state of mind could have been during the robbery.

The appeal says, “The fear, apprehension and anxiety of an individual placed in Mr. Ersland’s position would be hard to comprehend by anyone.”

“If I were there, would I have gone back and shot him the second group of shots? If I was there, would I have ran to the back and shut the door? No one knows unless maybe you’ve been in that situation,” Box said.

It’s a view that was shared Tuesday afternoon by Danyel Stanford outside the scene of the shooting, Discount Reliable Pharmacy.

“I think that he was trying to protect his staff and himself and I think in that situation they should consider the pressure he was under,” she said.

The offices of the Oklahoma County District Attorney, Oklahoma Attorney General and Judge Elliott said they could not comment on this appeal.

The Attorney General will have 60 days to file a response to Box’s appellant brief.

Box says a decision from the Court of Criminal Appeals could take up to two years after Ersland’s conviction.