Ersland may have disappeared from media view, but he's not been completely forgotten. A support website remains active and updated. Since his conviction in May 2011, Ersland's supporters have gathered 33,628 signatures on petitions that call the verdict an outrage; they delivered the latest batch of petitions to Gov. Mary Fallin's office on Monday October 1st, 2012.
And also on October 1st, 2012, Ersland's new attorney, Doug Friesen, who was retained back in April, filed a 26-page brief on Ersland's behalf asking the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to overturn his client's murder conviction, claiming that Ersland's original lead attorney Irven Box botched the defense. Friesen accuses Box of a series of failures in the handing of the case, noting that Box's ineffectiveness began as a belief that he could not lose this case and devolved into his failure to thoroughly investigate the facts and circumstances underlying Ersland's criminal charge. Eight specific allegations are set forth in this separate Daily Oklahoman article. One key issue will be whether or not Box told Ersland that District Attorney David Prater had been willing to possibly work out something along the lines of a manslaughter plea deal, which might have gotten Ersland a much reduced sentence.
In July, Friesen suggested that Ersland may have been suffering from Asperger's Syndrome, meaning that when you're confronted with a very unusual, startling situation, the mind immediately goes into a fugue state, where it is impossible to form any kind of conscious thoughts. Thus Friesen was suggesting that Ersland may not have been able to form the necessary intent for a first-degree murder charge. But because Irven Box didn't want Ersland to testify on his own behalf in trial, the jury could learn very little from him about his state of mind at the time of the shooting.
For his part, Box said that he and the three other attorneys involved in the 2011 trial, who charged their client $5,000 per day during the trial, did their best with a difficult client, and they would not do anything differently today. Box also claimed he twice told Ersland that prosecutors had talked of negotiating to a sentence of “double-digit” years, but Ersland wasn't interested in a plea that included a felony conviction because he wanted to keep his pharmacy license. In July, Box acknowledged he did not want Ersland to testify at trial, but that was because Ersland had given so many different versions of what happened inside the pharmacy.
Meanwhile, Ersland has been subjected to harassment in prison, being denied pain medication to cope with an inoperable broken back/spinal cord injury requiring him to wear a back brace at all times. Ersland was written up for two misconducts after his son tried to deliver a transdermal patch to him during a visit from his son on November 25th. Ersland has had his visitor privileges cancelled, and could face time in a disciplinary unit or other restrictions, to include segregation from other prisoners.
As for the the other three black punks, here is their disposition:
-- Emanuel Mitchell: Convicted of first degree murder, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, and driving a stolen car, and sentenced to life in prison plus 45 years in July 2011. When he was convicted in May, he immediately chimped out in the courtroom and attacked Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater. Mitchell was quickly subdued, and Prater suffered only superficial cuts and abrasions.
-- Anthony D. Morrison: Convicted of first degree murder and conspiracy to commit armed robbery in May 2011, sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years.
-- Jevontai Ingram: Pleaded guilty to first degree murder; was sentenced to a juvenile detention facility until his 19th birthday, to be released earlier contingent upon successful completion of a treatment program. After his release on August 31st, 2012, Ingram was arrested again on a felony charge of malicious injury and destruction of property on September 12th, 2012 after he kicked out the back and front windshields and damaged the hood and roof of his mother's car. This took place just eight days after he told the Daily Oklahoman that he wanted to go to high school and then college to play basketball, after which he would become a probation officer.