Closing Arguments, Deliberations Begin Thursday in Ersland Murder Case

Wednesday, May 25th 2011, 9:59 pm
By: News 9

Ricky Maranon, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- More than two years after the deadly robbery at Reliable Pharmacy, attorneys will deliver closing arguments Thursday in the first-degree murder trial of Jerome Ersland.

The prosecution spent most of Wednesday presenting forensic evidence to the jury before resting its case. The defense only called one witness to testify then submitted written testimony from Interim Chief Medical Examiner Andrew Sibley before resting.

The sole witness for the defense was the pharmacy technician who was helping Ersland close up for the night. She is the mother of another Reliable Pharmacy employee, Megan West. West was the first witness called by the prosecution.

Both women testified they believe Ersland saved their lives on May 19, 2009; the day two young robbery suspects ran into the pharmacy.

The defense witness stated the door was locked that night because the pharmacy was beginning to close, but employees opened the door for 16-year-old Antwun Parker because they thought "he was reaching in his pocket for a prescription he was going to drop off."

Testimony would later show that Parker was in fact reaching for a mask. Ersland is accused of shooting Parker six times.

She also revealed that Ersland formed a plan back in 2007 when the pharmacy was robbed that he would protect his employees if it ever happened again.

"We would run to the back, and he would get the gun," said the defense witness. "He was more familiar with how guns work and how to use one."

Prosecutors argue Ersland went too far when he shot five bullets into Parker after he was already unconscious from a gunshot to the head.

The defense claims that Parker's arms made involuntary movements that made him appear threatening, and that's why Ersland shot him again when he re-entered the pharmacy after chasing Parker's accomplice out of the store.

Judge Ray Elliott told jurors that closing arguments shouldn't take more than two-and-a-half hours, and that they can expect to begin deliberations by noon.

More: Defense Calls 1 Witness, Rests In Jerome Ersland Murder Trial