Adrianna Iwasinski, News 9
LEXINGTON, Oklahoma -- Jerome Ersland, the pharmacist convicted of murder for killing an armed robber in the Oklahoma City pharmacy where he worked, has been in prison for the past two months. Wednesday, he was allowed his first two visitors.
State Senator Ralph Shortey and Ersland's friend Karen Monahan received clearance to meet with Ersland at the Joseph Harp Correctional Center.
Monahon started a petition drive to seek clemency for Ersland from Gov. Mary Fallin shortly after Ersland was sentenced to life in prison. Monahan has received several letters from Ersland, but this is her first visit in person.
"He cannot believe how many people are supporting him," Monahan said.
So far, Monahan's petition has collected 25,000 signatures and she has heard from people supportive of Ersland in 26 countries.
"He appreciates them probably more than they will ever know," Monahan said.
Monahan and Shortey will be taking their petition drive to have Ersland freed across the Sooner state.
"Jerome Ersland never should have been charged and I take this personally because I live in a high-crime area and I don't want to be charged with murder if I decide to defend myself," Shortey said.
Shortey has authored legislation called the "Jerome Ersland Bill" which seeks to clarify Oklahoma's "stand your ground" laws.