Pharmacist Did Not Enter Plea During Arraignment

Friday, June 26th 2009, 8:46 am
By: News 9

Staff and Wire Reports

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The attorney for a pharmacist charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a would-be robber asserted Friday that most Oklahoma residents believe that the druggist was justified.

Jerome Ersland, 57, is accused in the May 19 death of 16-year-old Antwun Parker, who was shot six times as he and another teen tried to rob the pharmacy where Ersland works. During a brief arraignment hearing Friday, Ersland did not enter a plea and said nothing afterward.

Ersland, a disabled veteran, wore an upper body brace beneath a blue blazer.

He was quickly ushered out of the Oklahoma County Courthouse by sheriff's deputies and his defense attorney, Irven Box.

Asked after the hearing if his client is innocent, Box replied: "I believe the majority of Oklahomans believe what he did was justified."

Oklahoma County Special Judge Russell B. Hall scheduled a conference in the case for Sept. 3, when a date for Ersland's preliminary hearing will be set. Ersland remains free on $100,000 bond.

In a scene recorded by the drugstore's security camera, Ersland pulled a gun and shot Parker in the head and then chased the other would-be robber out of the store. He then went behind the counter, got another gun and pumped five more bullets into Parker as the wounded teenager lay on the floor.

Ersland, of Chickasha, claimed he was trying to defend himself and two employees.

Prosecutors, who were not at Friday's hearing, said he was justified in shooting Parker the first time but crossed the line when he shot the unconscious teenager five more times in the abdomen.

Box said Ersland is receiving counseling and has returned to work. A judge has prohibited Ersland from having access to firearms and an armed guard now protects the south Oklahoma City drugstore where he works, Box added.

Box also said he has appealed a ruling by District Judge Tammy Bass-LeSure that would allow prosecutors to subpoena Ersland's military medical records. He said he expects the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to issue a stay next week.

Along with Ersland, three other people have been charged in the case, including the second teen. Jevontia Ingram, 14, is accused of wielding a gun during the robbery and faces a first-degree murder charge. Murder charges were also filed against Anthony Morrison, 43, and Emanuel Mitchell, 31, who are also accused of planning the robbery and persuading the teenagers to carry it out.

The charges accuse all three of sharing responsibility for Parker's shooting death. hosted a live chat about the case. A team of legal experts discussed the implications for the future of the case.

Replay the live chat.

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- Read the text of Oklahoma's Stand Your Ground Law