The Morning Brew: The latest on Jerome Ersland; Pruitt's phone booth draws scrutiny
Ersland has asked his sentence be commuted
Former pharmacist Jerome Ersland is continuing his quest to get out of prison several years after his conviction.
Oklahoma County's district attorney said Monday a former pharmacist convicted of murder should not get out of prison early because it would send the wrong message.
"If he were to be released ... there would not be any deterrence to vigilante action," District Attorney David Prater told the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board.
Former pharmacist Jerome Jay Ersland is seeking a commutation of his life sentence for fatally shooting a 16-year-old robber. "Truly I acted in self-defense when I was surprised at work," he wrote in his application for relief.
Ersland, 66, will speak to the five-member board via video from prison Tuesday afternoon. The board will then vote on whether to recommend any time off.
Gov. Mary Fallin has the final say.
On Monday, the DA described for the board how Ersland shot an already wounded robber five more times after chasing another robber away.
The DA said Ersland grabbed a second gun, "calmly" walked over to Antwun Parker, leaned over and fired into the boy's chest five times from 18 inches away. He said Parker was unarmed, on the floor and unconscious from a shot to the head.
"Mr. Ersland likes to paint himself as a victim," Prater said. "That's not a victim. That's an executioner."
Former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt had a soundproof phone booth installed in his office
WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency violated the law when it installed a soundproof phone booth for the administrator, Scott Pruitt, at a cost of roughly $43,000, a congressional watchdog agency ruled on Monday.
The congressional agency, the Government Accountability Office, said in a report that the E.P.A. had not notified Congress as required before spending more than $5,000 on office equipment.
In a separate report Monday, the E.P.A.’s inspector general published records showing that Mr. Pruitt’s chief of staff signed off on hires and thousands of dollars in raises for political appointees under a provision of a clean water law. That report was part of an ongoing audit of salaries and hiring practices at the agency.
The E.P.A. said the secure phone booth was necessary “to make and receive phone calls and to discuss sensitive information, including classified telephone calls up to the top secret level.” The agency paid about $24,000 for the phone booth and more than $20,000 to install a drop ceiling, remove closed-circuit television equipment and pour concrete around the booth, according to agency contracts.