Oklahoma County Sheriff Refutes Jerome Ersland's Mistreatment Claims

Friday, June 10th 2011, 3:11 pm
By: News 9


OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel says Jerome Ersland's claims he's being denied medicine and threatened daily in the Oklahoma County jail are not true.

Ersland is being housed in the jail until his sentencing date on July 11. A jury convicted Ersland of first-degree murder in May for killing would-be robber Antwun Parker. He could be sentenced to life in prison.

Ersland recently told a local newspaper his stay in the Oklahoma County jail has been "hell." He said someone he believed to be related to Parker was yelling threats down the hall at him, saying "You're going to die, Jerome Ersland!"

In a news release, Sheriff Whetsel said Ersland is being housed in a small medical wing in a cell by himself. The area is supervised around the clock and an officer reported one incident in which an inmate yelled at Ersland. Sheriff Whetsel said Ersland never reported a threat, and there is no indication the other inmate was related to Parker. That inmate was released June 2.

Ersland also told the newspaper the jail refused to give him 13 medications he needs to treat military injuries and an inner ear disorder. He told the newspaper he was being treated like a prisoner of war in a Civil War camp. Sheriff Whetsel said this is untrue, and that Ersland hadn't given the jail a list of the medications or what they were for. He did recently give the jail medical staff written permission to obtain his medical records from his pain management physician and VA Hospital.

Sheriff Whetsel said Ersland falsely claimed inmates had started fires for four days. The jail's Fire Safety Manager said it's been so long since there was a fire at the jail, he cannot remember when one occurred. Sheriff Whetsel pointed out this could be verified by the Oklahoma City Fire Department.

While Ersland told the newspaper he could not eat, Sheriff Whetsel said records from the medical wing show Ersland's food trays often come back empty. Ersland has also purchased $80 worth of items from the commissary. And as for Ersland's claims he's not sleeping, Sheriff Whetsel said staff members log his activities and Ersland's sleep patterns appear normal for someone who was recently incarcerated.

Sheriff Whetsel said despite Ersland's accusations of mistreatment, he is safe and receiving adequate food and health care.