Ersland Supporters Hold Petition Drive Tuesday

Monday, May 30th 2011, 9:30 pm
By: News 9

Michael Konopasek, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY --  Supporters of Jerome Ersland held a petition drive Tuesday at the Reliable Pharmacy to gather signatures to free the pharmacist and convicted killer.

Ersland supporters plan to petition Oklahoma's Pardon and Parole Board for the pharmacist's release from custody. As of Monday afternoon, the group had more than 4,000 signatures.

On Monday, friends of Ersland gathered at the Reliable Pharmacy on the city's South Side to add more signatures on a petition for his support. They are calling for his immediate freedom and say they will work hard to see it through.

Karen Monahan, a close friend of Ersland, spoke with the now convicted murderer by phone on Monday.

"He was crying so hard," said Monahan. "He said he thought he was forgotten."

Ersland supporters shared their thoughts about the predicament of their friend.

"I don't think Mr. Ersland should have even been brought to trial," said Ersland supporter Pamela Francisco. "This is a total injustice."

Francisco was one of more than a dozen people who gathered at Ersland's former place of employment to show support.

Monahan is hoping the signatures will convince Oklahoma's Pardon and Parol Board, as well as Governor Fallin, to free Ersland.

According to Fallin's office, Ersland has the right to request that his sentence be commuted, but in order for that to happen, a majority of the state's Pardon and Parole Board must agree to it. Then, the governor has the final say.

Governor Fallin would not comment on a possible Ersland request, but his supporters say they are optimistic the hard work will pay off.

"I hope everyone in Oklahoma will stand behind this man," said Francisco.

In the meantime, the number of signatures for Ersland is growing. Monahan says she is committed to have a half a million to ensure her message does not fall on deaf ears.