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Friends Start Petition To Free Jerome Ersland

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Jerome Ersland's mug shot Jerome Ersland's mug shot

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- Friends and co-workers of pharmacist and convicted murderer Jerome Ersland say a life sentence is too harsh a sentence.

A jury convicted Ersland Thursday of first-degree murder.  Ersland shot 16-year-old Antwun Parker six times when Parker and another teenager tried to rob Reliable Pharmacy in May 2009.

Ersland's friends want the governor to step into the case and lessen the pharmacist's life sentence, so they've started a petition. They say it's not fair that he's been locked up when he was just trying to defend his co-workers and himself.

Karen Monahan stood outside Reliable Pharmacy Friday, waving the petition. Friends, customers, and complete strangers stopped to sign it.

"I want to do something about it," said Monahan. "He's over there locked up with the men who sent those kids to the pharmacy."

Monahan has collected more than 200 signatures.  They plan to collect 500,000 signatures and send the petition to the governor.

The governors office says anyone has the right to petition the Pardon and Parole Board to request their sentence be commuted. If a majority of the board recommends a commutation the case then heads to the governor.

She can then grant the request or deny it.

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