Parole Board Denies Jerome Ersland's Request To Have Sentence Reduced
OKLAHOMA CITY - Convicted murderer Jerome Ersland, made another plea to be released from prison.
The former pharmacist was working at Reliable Discount Pharmacy in 2009, when two teenage boys tried to rob the store at gunpoint. Ersland says he fired in self-defense, but was ultimately convicted of murder in 2011.
Tuesday, a parole board voted 3 -2 to deny Ersland's commutation request, meaning he will continue his life sentence.
“I wish I could go back and not do it,” said Ersland.
The 66-year-old maintains his claims of self-defense, but takes responsibility for the death of 16-year-old Antwun Parker.
On Monday, April 16, 2018, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater gave his statement to the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board saying, "Contrary to the inmate's statements, the security video and all of the supporting evidence proved that the inmate executed an unconscious sixteen-year-old robber as he lay on the floor."
“People began to think, okay this guy took out a robber and he saved two women who were working with him. That was completely untrue,” said DA Prater.
Surveillance video from inside the store shows Ersland running after the other teen robber off, 14-year old Jevontai Ingram.
Ingram gets away, and Ersland comes back. Footage shows him grabbing a different gun and then firing five shots into Parker's chest while the teen is unresponsive on the ground. Those who support the former pharmacist brought a petition of 34,000 signatures to his commutation review this afternoon.
“He's only been in prison seven years, but it's been nine years since this happened. To me, that's nine years his life that has been changed forever. We are just really hoping he can come home,” said Karen Monahan, who helped gather the signatures.
Ersland’s attorney said while her client is intelligent, but he has mental deficiencies and is on the spectrum. She said that coupled with Ersland’s ongoing health issues makes it seem almost cruel that he has been locked up for seven years.
“We keep pressing forward and we will continue to until we are out of legal options for Jerome,” DA Prater said Ersland's fate was fairly decided seven years ago at the hands of a judge and jury.
Also adding, DEA investigations show the pharmacy might have been targeted because of the amount of prescriptions they were filling. In terms of Hydrocodone, they were outselling three other neighboring, large corporate pharmacies combined.
“In a way, Mr. Ersland may have invited this trouble to come to his door,” said DA Prater.
Ersland’s attorney says they are in the process of filing other appeals, but could not comment if there are plans to seek a commutation in the future.
News 9's Bonnie Campo was there and tweeted during the hearing: