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Jerome Ersland Sentenced To Life In Prison By OKC Judge

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Monday, pharmacist Jerome Ersland was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Monday, pharmacist Jerome Ersland was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Jerome Ersland's son, Jeff Ersland, and friend Karen Monahan Jerome Ersland's son, Jeff Ersland, and friend Karen Monahan

News9.com

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Judge Ray Elliott has sentenced Jerome Ersland to life in prison with the possibility of parole.  Ersland has requested to be taken to prison immediately.  Ersland's lawyer has already said he will file an appeal.

A jury convicted Ersland in May of first-degree murder.  He shot 16-year-old Antwun Parker once in the head during an attempted robbery at Reliable Pharmacy on May 2009.  After shooting the unarmed teen once, Ersland retrieved a second gun and shot him five more times.  He said he was protecting himself and his co-workers, but prosecutors said he went too far when he retrieved the second gun.

5/26/11 Related Story: Jerome Ersland Guilty Verdict Stuns Courtroom

Jurors chose to sentence Ersland to life in prison. However, Judge Elliott could have suspended all or part of the sentence, but he chose not to.

Family and friends of both Ersland and Parker packed the courtroom Monday to hear Judge Elliott's sentence.  Jerome Ersland's son, Jeff, said he hoped for the best, but was prepared for the worst.

"I was hoping I could at least hug him or shake his hand," said Jeff Ersland.  "It was really hard to see him like that; bound.  It was just really hard to see him like that."

Parker's mother was not in the courtroom for the sentencing, but his father and aunt were.  They did not comment after the judge sentenced Ersland to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Friends of Ersland have started a petition to free him.  They took the petition with about 17,000 signatures to the governor's office Thursday, July 7. 

7/6/11 Related Story: Ersland Petition Goes To Governor's Office Thursday

Governor Mary Fallin's office released a statement saying Ersland must follow the legal process in appealing the conviction. Her communications director said if the Pardon and Parole Board recommends commuting Ersland's sentence, then the governor will conduct her own review before deciding to grant the recommendation.

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