Jerome Ersland Guilty Verdict Stuns Courtroom

Thursday, May 26th 2011, 2:18 pm
By: News 9

Adrianna Iwasinski, News9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma City pharmacist Jerome Ersland now faces life in prison with the possibility of parole after being found guilty of murder.

Once he's sentenced, he'll be eligible for parole in 38 years.

The Ersland jury began deliberations around 1:00 p.m. Thursday and returned with a verdict around 4:30 p.m: Guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of 16-year-old Antwun Parker.

The verdict stunned the courtroom.   Ersland, who many hailed as a hero, sat emotionless as the guilty verdict was read.  People sitting behind him were noticeably upset.

Parker's mother and her sisters were inside the courtroom most of the trial, and burst out of the room when the verdict was read. They clung to each other and cried in the hallway in an outpouring of emotion.

This is the verdict they have been waiting for for 2 long years.

Erlsand was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs with deputies surrounding him.  The wife of the Reliable Pharmacy owner was seen crying as she left.

She was visably stunned that the jury chose to find Ersland guilty of murder instead of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Judge Ray Elliott refused to lift the gag order so the prosecution, the defense, and the jury are not allowed to comment on the verdict. But we do know the jury had asked to see the surveillance video of the robbery and shooting one more time before they went up to deliberate.

Ersland will be sentenced July 11, the same day Anthony Morrison and Emanuel Mitchell will be sentenced.  Morrison and Mitchell were convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy for planning the robbery at Reliable Pharmacy on May 19, 2009.