Sen. Ralph Shortey is lending his support to backers of Oklahoma City pharmacist Jerome Ersland in their effort to petition the Governor for a pardon. Ersland in July was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison in the shooting death of an unconscious robber.
Shortey said he opposed the prosecution of Ersland as a matter of principle. The south Oklahoma City Senator was further motivated to support the petition drive after speaking with constituents’ regarding their concerns with the Ersland case and crime in their neighborhoods. Reliable Discount Pharmacy, where the attempted robbery occurred, is located in Shortey’s Senate district.
“The people of my district have seen how crime and violence can tear communities apart, making life more difficult for those who abide by the law,” said Shortey, R-Oklahoma City. “This case struck a chord with people who believe it is their right to defend their lives and property from violent criminals. There is a feeling in this case that justice has not been done, and it’s being made increasingly clear by the volume of signatures collected.”
Karen Monahan, organizer of the petition drive, delivered 17,066 petitions to the Governor in July, and another 7,252 in August. She said she has fielded requests from interested parties throughout the state asking that she visit to collect additional signatures. Monahan has also collected thousands of signatures through Facebook.
Shortey intends to join Monahan to collect signatures in as many as 50 counties.