Adrianna Iwasinski, News9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Thousands of people are putting their name on a petition to free the Oklahoma City pharmacist convicted of murder last week. A jury sentenced Jerome Ersland to life in prison.
But now there's a rush to try to speed up his formal sentencing because of concerns about his health.
Members of Ersland's defense team have been visiting him in jail almost everyday since he was convicted last Thursday. And Tuesday his lead attorney tells us Ersland's health is deteriorating badly in the Oklahoma County jail.
Ersland wears a back brace for a past injury he has. Now his guilty verdict has ignited a firestorm of controversy including a call to get the governor involved.
There were several people outside the Reliable Pharmacy on Tuesday holding up pictures of Ersland and getting people to sign the petition. So far more than 8,000 people have signed the paper petitions and there's one online as well.
Many of the people who know Ersland have stopped by to add their names to the list, but so have people who have never met the man.
Many feel the verdict was too extreme and feel the pharmacist should not be going to prison for the rest of his life.
Ersland's defense team is asking the judge to try to move up his formal sentencing date from July 11 to this Friday if possible because of those concerns for his health.
July 11th is also the formal sentencing date for two other men involved. Emanuel Mitchell and Anthony Morrison were sentenced to life for their part in the death of Antwun Parker, the 16-year-old Ersland shot and killed in the Reliable Pharmacy during the attempted robbery.
They were the ones who sent Parker and a friend to rob it at gunpoint.