Judge orders pharmacist Jerome Ersland to trial in shooting death of robber
A judge today ordered pharmacist Jerome Ersland to face a murder trial for fatally shooting a robber in May at an Oklahoma City drug store.
Jerome Ersland arrives for his preliminary hearing at the Oklahoma County Courthouse in Oklahoma City today. Photo by Paul B. Southerland
MultimediaVideoview all videosErsland to face murder trial
Nov 4A judge ordered pharmacist Jerome Ersland to face a murder trial in...
Photoview all photos The decision by Oklahoma County Special Judge Greg Ryan came after a day of testimony and viewing of a security camera recording of the shooting.
The state's chief medical examiner testified the robber was unconscious and on his back when he was fatally shot.
Dr. Collie Trant was the first witness at a preliminary hearing for Ersland of Chickasha. Ersland is charged with first-degree murder.
He shot robber Atwun "Speedy" Parker, 16, once in the head then five times in the chest and abdomen May 19 at the Reliable Discount Pharmacy in south Oklahoma City. Prosecutors say he went too far. The pharmacist contends he was defending himself and two female employees from a masked robber who was still moving.
Trant said Parker was still alive after the first shot, which left a pellet in his brain. The doctor said he concluded Parker was unconscious when he was shot five more times because the wounds were tightly clustered. The doctor said Parker would have moved after the first shot to the torso if he'd still been awake and the wounds would not have been that close together.
He also indicated the pharmacist had to have been standing directly over the robber shooting straight down.
Under defense questioning, he acknowledged that Parker might have died from the first gunshot wound if he hadn't been shot again.
The second witness was Tom Bevel, an expert at analyzing what a victim's blood can reveal about a crime scene.
He said the physical evidence shows the robber was not moving when he was shot the last five times. He said crime scene photos show no disturbance of a blood pool around Parker's head and no blood drops on the floor or on Parker's shirt.
He also said packages of support stockings had fallen onto Parker's hand and elbow and would have been in a different position if Parker were moving.
Prosecutors are expected to show the judge later today a recording of the robbery. Prosecutors released the recording to the news media when they charged Ersland to explain their decision.
The recording, taken from a security camera, shows Parker and another robber enter the store. The second robber, later identified as Jevontai Ingram, then 14, points a gun as Parker pulls on a mask.
The recording shows Parker falling down after getting hit in the head and the pharmacist chasing Ingram outside the drugstore. The pharmacist then returns to the store, gets a second gun and shoots Parker again. The recording also shows only Ingram had a gun.
An Oklahoma City police detective, David Jacobson, testified today that Ersland, on the night of the robbery, gave an account inconsistent with the recording.
The detective testified the pharmacist said he shot Parker five more times before chasing the other robber outside the store. "He said after the first shot he wouldn't go down," the detective testified.
The detective also said the pharmacist recalled both robbers having guns and that they fired at least two shots. Prosecutors contend only the pharmacist fired any shots.
The detective also testified that the pharmacist claimed to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder from killing people during combat in the Gulf War. "He had dreams about it," the detective testified.
The detective testified Ersland also said he had been injured in combat, that his vertebra had been blasted.
The detective said a review of Ersland's military records show his claims about combat are not true.
Records reviewed by The Oklahoman show Ersland was an Air Force pharmacist at Altus Air Force Base during the Gulf War.