Court Denies Defense Appeal To Remove Judge From Pharmacist Murder Trial

Thursday, March 3rd 2011, 1:36 pm
By: News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Court of Criminal Appeals denied Thursday an appeal to remove Judge Ray Elliot from the murder trial of Jerome Ersland.

Ersland, an Oklahoma City pharmacist, is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 16-year-old would-be robber, Antwun Parker.

In January, Ersland's attorney Irven Box filed a motion requesting Judge Elliott step down from the case. Box wanted Elliott off the case because he claimed the judge's wife, an assistant district attorney, provided him with an appellate court opinion involving the case. Box also said Elliott used a racial slur to describe Hispanics.

When a district judge denied that motion, Box appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeals. That appeal was denied Thursday morning.

In the court's opinion, judges agreed, "[Elliott] has not exhibited any personal bias, prejudice or lack of impartiality toward [Ersland] or his counsel."

Box told News 9 he's disappointed by the decision, but not surprised.

"We're going to have to go on and still try this case," he said.

The case was originally being heard by Judge Tammy Bass-Lesure. She recused herself last year following allegations of ethics violations.

More: Judge Denies Defense Motion To Remove Judge From Pharmacist Murder Trial