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Okla. court affirms pharmacist's murder conviction

An Oklahoma appeals court has upheld the first-degree murder conviction and life prison sentence of a pharmacist who claimed he acted in self-defense when he fatally shot a would-be robber inside an Oklahoma City pharmacy.

The Court of Criminal Appeals handed down the decision Thursday in the case of Jerome Ersland. Prosecutors said Ersland was justified in shooting 16-year-old Antwun Parker in the head, knocking him unconscious. But prosecutors say Ersland went too far when he grabbed a second gun and fired five more bullets into Parker's abdomen, wounds that the Medical Examiner's Office said killed him.

In separate decisions, the appeals court reversed the murder conviction and life sentence of a man prosecutors allege helped plan the robbery but affirmed the conviction of a co-defendant in the case.

Click here to read the court's complete ruling.

Earlier Thursday, the Oklahoma Court of Appeals reversed the sentence for Emanuel Mitchell because the judge did not allow Mitchell to represent himself.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater issued a statement following the rulings:

"I am pleased with the Court of Criminal Appeals' decision affirming the convictions of Jerome Ersland and Anthony Morrison. The State of Oklahoma stands ready to re-try Emmanuel Mitchell today."

The Governor's office has received a petition to free Ersland. When FOX 25 asked Governor Mary Fallin for her reaction to the latest news, Communications Director Alex Weintz issued this statement:

"If the Pardon and Parole Board recommends commutation, the governor will review that recommendation and Mr. Ersland's case. He will need to go through the same process as other inmates."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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