Havonnah Johnson, News 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Friends of pharmacist Jerome Ersland will present a petition to Governor Mary Fallin Thursday at noon, asking for the 59-year-old man to be pardoned.
Ersland was convicted in May of murdering a 16-year old who attempted to rob his store. Karen Monahan says since Ersland was convicted, she has managed to get 30,000 signatures on his behalf.
"Jerome is my friend and I have a lot of grandchildren. Besides, what would my parents think if I didn't do this," Monahan said.
Monahan has made Ersland's freedom her top priority since the armed robbery at Reliable Pharmacy turned deadly in May of 2009.
Two years later, a jury convicted Ersland of killing Antwun Parker. Security cameras in the pharmacy captured Ersland shooting the teen then chasing away his accomplice. Ersland then returned to the store, went behind the counter to get another gun, and shot Parker five more times while he was lying on the floor.
Ersland said he thought he saw Parker move.
"I came in and I was going to call 911 because I thought he was gone for good. He started moving his hands and I thought he was grabbing at a gun or a shotgun in his knapsack, a sawed off one. So I had to shoot him some more and I didn't make the call," Ersland said.
Thirty thousand Oklahomans agreed with his reasoning and signed a petition in support. Thursday, Monahan will take Ersland's case to the capital.
A spokesman from Gov. Fallin's office said they will receive the petition at noon. While the governor's office will accept the signatures and supporting documents, a spokesman said Ersland will have to go through the pardons and appeal parole board before the governor can get involved.
Meanwhile, the murdered teen's family is suing the pharmacy. Calls from News 9 to Parker's mother and her lawyer were not returned.
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