A former Oklahoma City pharmacist convicted of murder is revealing what he says are critical new details in the case.
It's been three years since Jerome Ersland was sentenced to life in prison for the 2009 fatal shooting of would-be robber Antwun Parker at the Reliable Discount Pharmacy in south Oklahoma City.
The case grabbed national attention, as it touched on a variety of emotionally and politically charged issues, such as gun rights and race. Parker was black. Ersland is white.
At the heart of the case is Ersland's claim that his firing of the fatal shots, captured on the store's surveillance system, was to protect himself and two co-workers. Prosecutors and, ultimately, a jury saw it differently -- that Ersland was not being threatened and the shooting was done with malice.
Ersland appealed his 2011 conviction, claiming his trial attorney, Irven Box, botched their defense. That appeal was denied. Now, with a different attorney, Doug Friesen, Ersland is again looking for a way out.
Ersland has, in fact, given multiple accounts of the circumstances surrounding the deadly confrontation with 16-year-old Parker and a 14-year-old accomplice, Jevontai Ingram. This is his latest version.
"For the first time he realized that his memory of the incident wasn't accurate," Friesen stated.
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Friesen is hoping to convince the court that Ersland's new, more accurate recollection will show that he truly did fire in self-defense. Friesen says Ersland's recent revelation is tied to a robbery of the same pharmacy two years earlier.
"He was totally traumatized by the 2007 robbery and he wasn't even there," said Friesen.
Friesen says, because Ersland wasn't there, he blamed himself and felt overwhelming guilt. He says Ersland became obsessed with being prepared for any future robbery attempts.
"His fixation with trying to get everyone in line and have a plan so it wouldn't happen again [showed he was clearly suffering from PTSD," Friesen explained.
In this latest court filing, Ersland claims he only recently remembered certain details of the incident because of the alleged post-traumatic stress disorder. He now claims he was shot at before he opened fire.
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"The reality is that bullets were whistling by his head. They were just his," said Friesen. "But there hadn't been enough work done to confront him with this."
Friesen claims it took a reenactment of the incident to have Ersland recall what they now claim actually happened. Ersland now believes his bullets ricocheted within the store during the incident. But in the 2011 trial, an Oklahoma County jury, which was presented with ballistics evidence, did not reach the same conclusion.
Ersland now also sees the surveillance video differently. He claims it shows the second gun used in the killing was in his pocket, not in a drawer, as prosecutors claimed at trial. Friesen says this theory would refute the notion that Ersland acted with malice.
"I hope that he gets a new trial," Friesen said. "That's what I think he deserves."
Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater says he will respond to the motion, if ordered by a judge to do so.
07/08/2011 Related Story: Jerome Ersland Sentenced To Life In Prison By OKC Judge