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View Full Version : OKC Pharmacist Jerome Ersland Found Guilty Of Murder In 2009 Shooting


Lee Lapin
May 26, 2011, 09:32 PM
Earlier thread (33 pages, locked) - http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=359176

Current news - http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303654804576347891729253696.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

MAY 27, 2011
Self-Defense Case: Pharmacist Guilty

By ANA CAMPOY

A pharmacist who fatally shot a teenage robber in Oklahoma City was found guilty Thursday of first-degree murder in a jury trial that ignited debate over the limits of self-defense.

The pharmacist, 59-year-old Jerome Ersland, fired a weapon after two young men entered his pharmacy, one of them waving a gun, in May 2009. Mr. Ersland's bullet hit 16-year-old Antwun Parker in the head, Oklahoma County prosecutors alleged.

Moments later, Mr. Ersland shot Mr. Parker five more times as he lay unconscious on the ground, say prosecutors who had a security surveillance video to bolster their case.
===snip===

There are enforceable legal limits on actions we can take in self defense. It's important to know when to shoot, and under what circumstances - and also when not to shoot.

lpl

Davey
May 26, 2011, 10:19 PM
Damn, sounds like Ersland went too far.

Edit: Not so sure anymore. Other articles say the guy tried to get back up...

JohnKSa
May 26, 2011, 10:52 PM
Other articles say the guy tried to get back up...Maybe that's what Ersland is claiming now. It's not really consistent with what can be seen the raw video.

http://newsok.com/multimedia/video/24432753001

Ersland does not appear to be at all concerned about the robber getting back up. After shooting the robber, he runs out of the store to chase the accomplice down the street. Ersland does glance at the robber on the floor briefly before running out of the store.

Ersland re-enters the store and walks back to the counter. Ersland walks at a normal pace past the robber on the floor without stopping to look at him. He does not keep his eye on the robber, he turns his back to him as he walks to the counter.

Then Ersland apparently reloaded his pistol (or possibly retrieved another pistol) while out of view of the robber but not attempting to take cover in any way. Then he walked at normal speed back over to the guy who was lying on the floor just out of the camera view, leaned over him a little, pointed the gun at him and apparently shot him. Then he went back to the counter, got the phone and called the police.

The phone was positioned such that it would have been very easy to maintain a view of the robber on the floor while calling the police. Ersland doesn't take that approach. Nor does he stay outside the store and call for the authorities from another location.

jmortimer
May 26, 2011, 10:52 PM
I've watched the tape a fedw times and based on what I saw, at worst it was voluntary manslaughter. At best the guy should have got a medal. The piece o'krap died in the course of an armed robbery. And I thought O.J. had a stupid jury.

Tom Servo
May 27, 2011, 12:42 AM
At best the guy should have got a medal.
That Ersland was justified in the first round of shots is not disputed, even by the DA. Had he stopped when his target ceased to be a threat, this would have been a clean shoot.

At issue is the fact that Ersland administered a coup de grace after his assailant had been rendered harmless. That's when he stopped being a good guy. That's the murder part.

Two aspects of this remind me of the Bernard Goetz shooting. The first is the shooting of an unresisting person who no longer had the means or opportunity to do him harm. Ersland shot a prone man in the stomach; Goetz shot an unarmed man slumped over in a chair.

Second, if you read Pax's summation (http://thefiringline.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3583562&postcount=757), Ersland ran his mouth to the police, making several contradictory statements regarding the situation. Goetz did the same thing.

How should he have handled the situation? Once the gunman fell, Mr. Ersland should have locked the doors, retrieved the assailant's weapon, then called law enforcement. If it had stopped at that, none of this would be an issue.

hogdogs
May 27, 2011, 01:24 AM
WOW!!! Just a short time ago I looked up the case for updates and trial start date... I didn't realized I missed it until now. And to think I have had FOX news on the tube most of the hours I am awake and nary a peep!:o

I am surprised that they found him guilty of 1st degree murder, I expected any jury would find him guilty of a manslaughter charge at most due to his high level of emotional stress in the moments after these CRIMINALS attempted to rob a fairly "fortified" pharmacy at gun point.

But the criminals did show a pretty high level of planning along with PREMEDITATION!

Brent

Davey
May 27, 2011, 03:33 AM
Now that I've seen the video it looks damning towards the clerk.

The guy walks back into the store, reaches into his pocket to fish out keys. You can see him unlock the drawer and pull out another gun. He immediatley walks back to the other guy with no hesitation and shoots.

Then he calmly turns around to pick up the phone.

I dunno. It just looks really fishy from this "angle".

What was the reasoning for changing guns?

thump_rrr
May 27, 2011, 04:15 AM
There was no need to shoot him again as far as I could tell.
By the way he ran after the other suspect the suspect on the ground was no longer a threat.

This is a good lesson in why you stop shooting when the threat ceases to exist.

BlueTrain
May 27, 2011, 06:15 AM
There was a case in Montgomery County, Maryland, (a suburb of Washington, D.C.) several years ago when a jewelry store owner chased a robber out of his stores and shot him as he was attempting to make his getaway in a car. I think he may have escaped with is accomplice but he was killed just the same. However, I think the store owner was found not guilty. That was more than a few years ago.

The store owner used a .380.

Wildalaska
May 27, 2011, 10:11 AM
I win. :)

Screech all ya want, for whatever motivation floats your boat, but its:

WildjustanotherscumbagofftotheslammerAlaska ™©2002-2011

TailGator
May 27, 2011, 10:28 AM
I am not a big fan of shooting at fleeing people, even if a felony has been committed. Even if you consider such actions justified, though, what Ersland did with his last shots is closer to execution than self defense. Premeditation does not have to be prolonged, it just has to reflect deliberation. Ersland's actions in walking back to the downed robber shows a purposefulness that constitutes premeditation in many or most jurisdictions. As unfortunate as this incident is for the gun community, I support the verdict based on what I can see on the video and what has been reported in the press and in internet discussions.

Ringolevio
May 27, 2011, 10:45 AM
Tom Servo:
Two aspects of this remind me of the Bernard Goetz shooting. The first is the shooting of an unresisting person who no longer had the means or opportunity to do him harm. Ersland shot a prone man in the stomach; Goetz shot an unarmed man slumped over in a chair.

What "unarmed"? Goetz's assailants (or do you prefer to call them "victims"?) were armed with screwdrivers.
And the man "slumped over in a chair" (actually, a subway car bench) had already been shot while standing. Goetz shot at him again and missed.

What appeared damning to Goetz was that he allegedly said, after shooting the guy once, "You don't look so bad, here's another". But that was based on Goetz's own statement and his own recollection. No witness actually heard him utter those words, and Goetz's lawyer (Barry Slotnick) argued that Goetz uttered those words only in his own mind! Witnesses did not describe any significant pauses between shots.

Goetz was convicted only of illegal possession of a firearm. He was even acquitted on the charge of reckless endangerment for the one round that missed.

As I have noted here in another thread, of the four men Goetz shot, the only one who didn't return to a life of crime was one Darrell Cabey, whose wounds left him paralyzed. Another, one James Ramseur, caught a 25 year sentence for the aggravated rape, sodomy and robbery of a pregnant 18 yr. old on a Bronx rooftop, after he recovered from his wounds from the Goetz incident! Some people never learn!

Eagle Eye
May 27, 2011, 11:02 AM
Seems clear to me that Ersland at least put the BG down with the first shot. Then after returning to the store he made sure BG was dead. He should have kicked the BG weapon out of reach, locked the door, and made the phone call. Ersland is a big guy, and it is pretty clear he could have held the BG to the floor with a foot on the head or neck if needed until cops arrived.

It appears the final shots were deliberately fired and carefully placed. That put him in deep doodoo.

Tom Servo
May 27, 2011, 11:05 AM
What "unarmed"? Goetz's assailants (or do you prefer to call them "victims"?) were armed with screwdrivers.
Three of the men had screwdrivers, but they were never presented as weapons, and Goetz himself admits that he was unaware of them.

What appeared damning to Goetz was that he allegedly said, after shooting the guy once
Actually, Goetz said a great deal more, both to the police and the media. Other chestnuts of wisdom included:

"My intention was to murder them, to hurt them, to make them suffer as much as possible."

"If I had more bullets, I would have shot 'em all again and again. My problem was I ran out of bullets."

"I was gonna, I was gonna gouge one of the guy's eyes out with my keys afterwards"

This is one of the factors that came back to haunt him in the civil case.

Goetz was convicted only of illegal possession of a firearm. He was even acquitted on the charge of reckless endangerment for the one round that missed.
His case didn't take place in a vacuum. At the time, New York had a violent crime rate far higher than the national average. It was impossible to assemble a jury in which none of the jurors had not been exposed to crime in the recent past.

Goetz got an all-white jury, many of whom were frustrated about the city's inability or unwillingness to address the crime issue. He was very fortunate.

As I have noted here in another thread, of the four men Goetz shot, the only one who didn't return to a life of crime was one Darrell Cabey, whose wounds left him paralyzed.
True enough. These guys were bad people, who went on to do some really bad things. But it's not the job of me, Ersland, Goetz, or anyone else to maim or kill them on the justification that they might do some harm in the future.

matolman1
May 27, 2011, 11:12 AM
Does anyone know the racial make up of the Jury? I am simply curious.

Wildalaska
May 27, 2011, 11:17 AM
Goetz was convicted only of illegal possession of a firearm. He was even acquitted on the charge of reckless endangerment for the one round that missed.


So based on the posts I have seen recently (not just yours)...

Goetz jury...white guy shoots black kid and Goetz is partially aquitted...good jury...

OJ Jury...black guy kill white folks and is aquitted...bad jury

Ersland jury...white guy kills black kid and is convicted...bad jury.

WildisthereapatternhereAlaska ™©2002-2011

hogdogs
May 27, 2011, 11:17 AM
Three of the men had screwdrivers, but they were never presented as weapons, and Goetz himself admits that he was unaware of them.
Thank god I don't have to wait for a "secondary" weapon to be in the thug's hands in florida... The primary weapon of hands, feet and teeth are plenty to be present for me to use any level of force up to and including lethal force to avoid receiving GBH or lethal injuries...

Brent

Eagle0711
May 27, 2011, 11:36 AM
This is the difference between " The Law " and " Justice ".

Had I been on the jury it would have been NOT GUILTY.

I believe that it's called " Jury Nullification ".

Daugherty16
May 27, 2011, 11:39 AM
By me. and others. Certainly by our dear friend and fellow TFL member WildseescallsspadesspadeswithalarmingfrequencyAlaska.

After you stop a threat with an apparent head shot, and he hasn't moved a muscle for several minutes, you don't empty a magazine into the dude's chest. Let me write that down.

jibberjabber
May 27, 2011, 11:46 AM
Better to be charged with murder than be murdered I guess.

Capt Charlie
May 27, 2011, 11:50 AM
Folks, we have two threads active on this subject, this one and one in L&CR (http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=452495).

I'd gladly merge the two, but at this point both have too many replies for that. Doing so would make the thread disjointed and confusing.

As the focus on both seems to approach the legal angles more than tactical, it seems best to close this one and let the one in L&CR remain. Please post your thoughts there.

With apologies to the OP, closed.