Judge's Life Threatened Over Pharmacy Case

Friday, May 29th 2009, 9:29 pm
By: News 9

By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The public's emotions continue to run high as Jerome Ersland, the pharmacist who shot and killed a 16-year-old robber, now faces first degree murder charges.

Three others, including the other teen involved in the robbery, have also been charged.
Now, the judge presiding over Ersland's case said she's receiving death threats.

Judge Tammy Bass-LeSure received those threats via phone calls made to her chambers.

"They were threats on my life," Bass-LeSure said. "There were a lot of racial epithets and just things of that nature."

The phone calls came after she raised the bond on murder suspect Jerome Ersland from $50,000 to $100,000, and forced him to turn over his guns.

"Because of the case and because of the charge that he's charged with, I think that he should have surrendered any weapons that he has," Bass-LeSure said.

Watch the full interview with Bass-LeSure, including what her family says about the death threats.

The judge's decision led to a heated confrontation between Bass-LeSure and District Attorney David Prater. Some people displeased with the decisions took to the web and the phones. LeSure answered one of the calls.

She said she didn't expect the intense reaction, but says, "It comes with the job that I have."

District Attorney David Prater is outraged by the threats.

"Whether I agree with, or disagree with, Judge Bass-LeSure, that's not the issue," Prater said. "This is a case should be handled in the courthouse."

Prater also said the threats are criminal and he wants to know who's behind them.

"We'll pursue that investigation on whomever it is who may have called her," Prater said.

Judge Bass-LaSure is asking the public to be calm during the criminal procedure.

"I know with this case, both sides are very highly emotional, but I am just asking that all of the public just give the justice system a chance to work," Judge Bass-LeSure said.

Barring a change of venue, Judge Bass-LeSure will likely to preside over the Jerome Ersland trial. She maintains that's she'll do everything to ensure both sides receive fair and impartial treatment.

U.S. Marshal Service reports increase in threats to judges and prosecutors.

More on News9.com:

- Second Pharmacy Robbery Suspect Arrested
- Pharmacist Released from Jail on Bail
- Pharmacist Charged With Murder After Shooting Robber
- Employee Shoots at Robbers: 1 Killed, 1 at Large
- Read the text of Oklahoma's Stand Your Ground Law
- More Charges Filed in Pharmacy Shooting