Attorneys For OKC Pharmacist Jerome Ersland Appeal Murder Conviction
OKLAHOMA CITY - Attorneys representing Oklahoma City pharmacist Jerome Ersland filed papers to appeal his murder conviction Monday. Ersland was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison for shooting and killing a teenage robber.
Earlier this year, Ersland hired a new attorney to take over his case. Monday morning that new attorney, Doug Freisen, filed a brief at the Oklahoma Court of Appeals asking for a new trial saying Jerome Ersland's old attorney didn't do his job.
Freisen filed the motion Monday morning with the Oklahoma Court of Appeals along with a lengthy brief detailing evidence he says should have been used to defend Jerome Ersland but wasn't.
"Under these sets of facts I do not believe Jerome got a fair trial," Freisen told reporters Monday.
Freisen is asking for the new trial on the grounds that Ersland was "Denied Effective Assistance of Counsel."
He and other supporters claim Ersland's former attorney, Irvin Box, didn't inform Ersland of the possibility of a plea deal, didn't investigate Ersland's possible medical condition of Asperger's Syndrome and didn't produce use of force experts at trial.
"The jury heard one side of the argument, they never heard Jerome Ersland's side of the story," said State Senator Ralph Shortey, one of Ersland's supporters. "They never heard any other expert witness other than what the district attorney brought."
"I think it's a big publicity stunt, everything in there is bogus, it's disingenuous," countered Box.
Box, argues he did everything he could to get an acquittal. But the judge in the case wouldn't allow critical witnesses and comments. Arguments he laid out in his own appeal that has already been filed.
"We tried to cross examine officers about what they would do if they were comforted with someone with a gun, the judge wouldn't let us get this in," said Box.
The next step: the Attorney General's office will file their own brief for the court of criminal appeals to consider.
Even Friesen admits getting a new trial on these grounds is tough.
Ersland supporters also dropped off a collection of signatures to the Governor. They are asking Ersland be pardoned.