Co-Worker Calls OKC Pharmacist 'Hero' During Prosecution Testimony

Friday, May 20th 2011, 12:24 pm
By: News 9

Adrianna Iwasinski, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A witness for the prosecution told jurors in the Jerome Ersland trial that the Oklahoma City pharmacist was a hero who saved her life.

Megan West, a Reliable Pharmacy employee, was the first person to take the stand in the first-degree murder trial of the 59-year-old pharmacist.  Ersland is on trial for the death of 16-year-old robbery suspect Antwun Parker.

West told jurors she and her mother were working with Ersland May 19, 2009, when Parker and another teen ran into the store waving a gun and demanding cash and drugs.

West testified she and her mother ran into a back room when the boys pointed a gun at them.  She says Ersland told them he'd "take care of it." She says she heard one of the robbers yell, "Oh crap, he's got a gun!" 

West testified she heard a gunshot, silence, then the sound of a drawer opening and more gunshots. 

During cross examination, the defense asked West if Ersland was a hero and if he saved her life. West answered, "yes."

Michelle Powell was the second person to take the stand for the prosecution.  She lives near Reliable Pharmacy.  She testified she was working in her yard the day of the robbery and shooting when she saw a boy running from the store.  He jumped into a car driven by another man and the two sped off.

Powell actually got into her own car and followed the vehicle.  She saw the car crash and called police.

Prosecutors told jurors during opening statements Friday that police originally hailed Ersland as a hero, but that changed the more they investigated the shooting.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater says Ersland went too far when he shot Parker six times.

Prater told the jury that as police began investigating the case and doing more interviews, they discovered the evidence did not match Ersland's story. Detectives also say Ersland changed his story several times.

Prater also accused Ersland of manufacturing evidence. He says the pharmacist visited a Chickasha doctor a month after the shooting and claimed he needed to be treated for a gunshot wound.

Defense attorney Joe Reynolds says his client did nothing wrong and only defended himself and his co-workers. Reynolds pointed out Ersland had never been arrested before the shooting at the pharmacy, and was a law-abiding citizen who had previously served his country.

Reynolds told the jury Reliable Pharmacy had been robbed six to eight times before the fatal shooting, and Ersland was merely protecting himself.