OKLAHOMA CITY -- Judge Ray Elliott wasted no time Monday shooting down a defense motion to reinstate Tammy Bass-LeSure as the presiding judge in the murder trial of Oklahoma City pharmacist Jerome Ersland.
Defense attorney Irven Box filed a motion last week requesting Judge Bass-LeSure be allowed to return to the case. She recused herself in August 2010 after prosecutors accused her of misconduct. Box said because Bass-LeSure had been cleared of misconduct allegations, the prosecution no longer had a reason to object to her.
Judge Elliott denied the motion, saying the defense had no legal authority to make such a request. He then addressed several other issues related to the trial.
The judge said in the past, there were requests for gag orders in the case due to concerns the jury pool may be tainted. Judge Elliott had denied those gag orders, but Monday he said he wanted to revisit the issue. He asked both sides to submit parameters they believed would necessitate a gag order by Monday, March 14, and he would issue a ruling if necessary. The prosecution then asked for an immediate gag order, but the judge said he wanted to hear from both sides first.
Judge Elliott also agreed to hear a defense motion on March 31 to dismiss Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater from the case. He then set Monday, May 16, as the start date for the Ersland murder trial.
Ersland is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 16-year-old Antwun Parker. The pharmacist shot Parker as the teen was robbing Ersland's pharmacy in May 2009.