Jury Selection Begins In OKC Pharmacist's Murder Trial

Monday, May 16th 2011, 8:35 am
By: News 9

Adrianna Iwasinski, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorneys began questioning potential jurors Monday in the trial of an Oklahoma City pharmacist accused of killing a teenage robber who tried to hold up his store.

Jerome Ersland is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 16-year-old Antwun Parker. Prosecutors say Parker and an accomplice tried to rob Ersland's pharmacy in May 2009. Ersland's attorneys say he shot Parker in self-defense, but prosecutors say his actions constitute murder.

Judge Ray Elliot first gave instructions Monday morning to the jury people of 150 people. Attorneys then began questioning the prospective jurors.

Judge Elliott has issued a gag order in this case, so neither the Oklahoma County District Attorney's Office nor the defense is allowed to comment on the proceedings.

The judge has also ruled cameras will not be allowed in the courtroom until the last day of the trial when the verdict is read. To prevent media from capturing any images of the trial until that time, the judge had paper taped on the windows in the courtroom.

Judge Elliott also roped off the entrance into the courtroom to prevent journalists, photographers, and spectators from blocking the doors.

If convicted, Ersland could be sentenced to life in prison, with or without parole.