Thursday, May 28, 2009

Latest News in Oklahoma

A pharmacist, in Oklahoma City, who shot a would-be robber six times was charged with first-degree murder Wednesday, and the prosecutor said only the first shot was justified. A security video shows two men bursting into the pharmacy and one of them is shot. Pharmacist Jerome Ersland then is seen chasing the second man outside before he walks past Parker to get a second gun, returns to Parker and opens fire. District Attorney David Prater said Ersland was justified in shooting Parker once in the head, but went too far when he shot Parker five more times while Parker lay unconscious on the floor. "It is alleged that Parker was unarmed, lying on his back, unconscious but alive, when he was shot in the abdomen. Ersland's attorney said Ersland was protecting himself and two women inside the Pharmacy and he thinks a jury will exonerate Ersland however Ersland's account doesn't match the video or the evidence collected at the scene. He shows no concern for his safety as he walks by Parker, and turns his back to Parker as he walks behind the pharmacy counter he is then seen to put the pistol he is carrying on the counter, and retrieve a second pistol from a drawer. This is the pistol Ersland used to shoot Parker on the ground, the detective said.
Jacobson said the suspect who ran away from the pharmacy was armed, but no gun was found near Parker. The person who fled had not been identified, and police said the investigation was ongoing. Ersland said that he was grazed by a bullet during the confrontation, but the evidence didn't support that. There was no evidence at the scene that the robbery suspects ever fired a round inside the pharmacy.

An autopsy determined Parker was alive after being shot in the head and died from the abdominal wounds.

Ersland, 57, is being held without bail in the Oklahoma County Jail. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison with or without the possibility of parole, or receive the death penalty. The district attorney has not indicated whether he plans to seek the death penalty, which would require proving an aggravating factor in the crime.

I have a feeling this story will bring on a great deal of debate. I'm anxious to hear what others think.


kenju said...

This is one of those situations when my Libra ascendant leads me to a quandary. I can see both sides of the argument and I'm not sure who is right. If the robber was completely incapacitated by the first shot, then the pharmacist should have called police and held the gun on him until the police arrived - not shot him again and again! He was taking the law into his own hands.

oklhdan said...

I agree. It stopped being justifiable after he incapacitated the robber. What disturbs me about the whole thing is how it becomes a black/white issue because the pharmacist is white and the robber was a black youth. I also wonder if people would be enraged had it been a police officer that shot the boy 5 times after he was down.