The new attorney for former pharmacist Jerome Ersland says his client didn't get a fair trial. Now he's racing against the clock to appeal his murder conviction.
Attorney Doug Friesen says he is representing Ersland for free. And he says he believes if the ex-pharmacist gets a retrial, the controversial murder conviction will be overturned.
Lack of witnesses, a hostile judge, and Ersland's secret medical condition are just a few reasons gun rights expert and attorney Doug Friesen believes Ersland's life sentence is unjust. He says defense attorney Irvin Box was scared of the judge.
4/11/2012 Related Story: Jerome Ersland Chooses New Attorney To Battle For Appeal
"As a result of trial counsel actions, Jerome did not get a fair trial," Friesen said. "Our job is to fight for our clients. It's not our jobs to lay down because we are afraid something might happen to us."
Friesen claims the former pharmacist suffers from Asperger's Syndrome and the court didn't hear that or from expert witnesses.
"I felt that there was problems with Irvin," said Ersland supporter, Karen Monahan.
7/08/2011 Related Story: Jerome Ersland Sentenced To Life In Prison By OKC Judge
Ersland, 60, was convicted for killing a would-be robber at Reliable Pharmacy in 2009. Surveillance video shows Ersland shooting the teen a total of five times after he was down.
In the Lexington prison Ersland is serving in, he is receiving death threats.
"That has resulted in him being switched to a segregation cell now where he is locked down 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said Friesen.
Yet he has hope. Friesen and Monahan are working to get some 30,000 signatures demanding for Ersland's release, along with new information to the appellate court. If Ersland isn't granted a retrial, his first parole hearing is in June 2049.
Ersland fired his trial attorney Irvin Box in April. News 9 tried to reach Box for comment but our calls were not returned.