Staff and Wire Reports

OKLAHOMA CITY -- An Oklahoma County judge is considering testimony from a hearing on whether he should be removed from the case of a pharmacist accused in the shooting death of an unconscious teenager during a robbery attempt.

District Judge Ray Elliott said Tuesday he'll rule on the motion in the Jerome Ersland case Monday.

In the motion, Elliott is accused of using racial slurs against Hispanics and of getting help in the case from his wife, who is a prosecutor.

Elliott acknowledged using the term, "wetback," once to describe illegal immigrants who worked on his house but said he never uttered the word from the bench.

Elliott also said his wife hadn't assisted him in the Ersland case but did provide him with a copy of an appellate court opinion in the case.

Ersland has said he shot Antwun Parker six times in self-defense, but prosecutors said Ersland went too far when he fired the last five shots into the unconscious Parker's abdomen. 

Ersland's attorney Irven Box said the case has turned into a public spectacle that could have been avoided had Judge Elliott stepped down when asked to do so in private last month.

"We presented the same factual basis to him in a minuscule version back in his chambers to give him the right for this not to be heard before the public and he didn't recuse, and I think that's just his stubbornness," Box said.

During Tuesday's testimony the prosecution presented testimony from people who have worked closely with Judge Elliott, including fellow District Judge Kenneth Watson.

Judge Watson testified it was his opinion that Judge Elliott was a tough but fair judge, and he did not consider Judge Elliott to be a racist, and neither did the head of the Oklahoma County public defender's office.

He testified he's never received any complaints to his office and has never seen Elliott ever making an inappropriate racial remark or show any bias towards any racial or ethnic group.

Elliott initially refused to testify, but he did address the allegations against him at the end of the hearing, saying that there has never been any communication, legal or otherwise.

Box said he anticipates Elliott will announce he's staying on the case. In that case Box said he'll ask the head judge to reconsider his request to have Judge Elliott removed, and if that judge refuses, he said he will take his case to the Court of Criminal Appeals.