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June 1st, 2009
05:36 PM ET

Oklahoma City pharmacist faces murder charge in shooting

Jay F. Marks
The Oklahoman

An Oklahoma City pharmacist was charged today with first-degree murder in the May 19 shooting death of a would-be robber.

Chickasha resident Jerome Ersland, 57, surrendered about noon, his attorney, Irven Box, said. He is being held without bail in the Oklahoma County Jail.

Box thinks a jury will exonerate Ersland.

The charge alleges Ersland shot Antwun Parker, 16, while he was incapacitated and lying on his back. Ersland’s account of the incident doesn’t match the video or the evidence collected at the scene, according to the affidavit written by Oklahoma City Police Detective David Jacobson.

Parker was shot once in the head and five times in the stomach area. The autopsy found Parker was still alive after the head shot and died from the stomach wounds.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater discussed the case at an afternoon press conference.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. Glenn Jenkins

    many people have this there just a kid thing going...but in today's society where do we draw the line??....what is kiddish??...certainly not armed robbery! So I'd assume he wanted to be an adult and suffered the consequence of such!!....I say play this video in areas schools to show CRIME DOES NOT PAY!

    June 2, 2009 at 7:52 am |
  2. Mitchell Thibodeau

    I believe everybody could agree with Lisa Bloom, that no jury would ever find this man guilty of murder, so I ask, "Why is there a need to debate this at all?" Please cover some actual news or pressing issues, don't leave your viewers to suffer in the crossfire of the ratings war.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:59 am |
  3. Greg Bulalrd

    You asked if this was murder of Self Defense. I say Murder. I believe it was Self Defense up until the moment when the Pharmacist went back for the 2nd gun, and shot the suspect 5 times. Up until that point, there was cause for self defense, because he was in danger, but shooting a wounded incompasitated person (adult or child) when he could have simply restrained him if needed, was excessive.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:59 am |
  4. Bill

    They should give Ersland a medal for doing what he did. This is what is wrong with this country today. Arresting someone for protecting what is his and the criminals thinking they can do what they want without consequences.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:58 am |
  5. Roy

    The pharmacist should get a medal for helping to clean up our streets. Everyone should make a donation for his defense.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:55 am |
  6. Don Windley

    The former prosecutor you had on likened this to a combat situation. In a combat situation, this would be considered "double-tapping" and I would be charged with murder.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:54 am |
  7. Mattie Jones

    He may have gone too far. However, in the heat of the moment he probably was fearful of his life and wasn't taking any chance that he would get up and shoot him.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:53 am |
  8. John Springston

    No one should ever pull a gun out without expecting to get shot at. The robbers knew what they we're doing, the pharmacist defended himself. That's the thing with gun play, someone has to lose. I'm just thankfull that this time the good guy won. Score 1 for the pharmicist, and -10 for the theiving, lawbreaking dead guy. Hope his buddy learned a lesson.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:47 am |
  9. Marc C

    The decision whether or not the pharmacist should face 1st degree murder or manslaughter will depend on if the local government is considered to be highly libertarian. If so, the pharmacist can be charged with 1st degree murder due to the fact that the injured assailant did not pose a threat; no weapon; and to push it even further no weapons were fired except the pharmacist. The assailant was unarmed and did not pose a threat. For the pharmacist to go get another weapon and then shoot 5 times is premeditated, and should be prosecuted as such.

    The pharmacist could have been charged with involuntary manslaughter if he was fired upon, or if there was an imeadiate threat.

    June 2, 2009 at 3:14 am |
  10. Billy Young

    The first shot to the head incapacitated the would-be robber. By anyones sound judgement he was no longer a threat. I am appauld by the new "little time to think" theory that seems to be a one excuse fits all when excessive force is used to kill black people. It's being used by the police officer that shot another police officee because he was a black man running with a gun. It's being used by police officers who tazzed an unarmed 110 pound black teenager because he ran from them. It's now being used as an excuse for a billigerant pharamcist who was dissapointed that the first shot to the head didn't finish the kid off. The pharmacist should have been content with the possibility of leaving him paralyzed or maybe even brain dead. He was not justified to end his life once he was rendered helpless.

    June 2, 2009 at 2:43 am |
  11. Calvin

    The video doesn't lie. The pharmacist murdered the kid. There is no visible threat to the pharmacist or other employees. The phamacist is seen taking his time while turning his back to the robber and returning and firing five shots into an unarmed kid who he had already shot in the head. He should be convicted for murder.

    I wonder how differently the pharmacist's action would be viewed if the pharmacist was black and the robber was white.

    June 2, 2009 at 2:09 am |
  12. AJ

    This was an unnecessary escalation of violence on the part of the pharmacist. The man deserves punishment for what is definitely murder. A person's first instinct after chasing a criminal off the scene with the other one down on the floor and unmoving, is not to go and grab a second gun and immediately put down the defenseless criminal. Split-second decision making is a convenient excuse for a pre-meditated murder. Calling the police and an ambulance should have been his next move, and instead he commits a heinous crime.l You had the former state representative on your show who callously threw the ambivalent term "evil-doers" into this discussion, and basically nullified his sense of logical judgment when dealing with this crime. Both the suspects and the pharmacist are responsible for criminal actions, but the pharmacist actually committed murder here. He should be given life at max, 50-60 years at minimum, and no one should be celebrating his actions. Murder is murder, and self-defense only made up the first shot which rendered the teenager unconscious. After that, complete murder.

    June 2, 2009 at 1:59 am |
  13. adrian

    i cant belive people are making this guy out to be a hero. he's the killer of a 16 year old boy. if that boy had died from the first bullet that would be self defense but shoot a boy on the ground bleeding from his head is murder. i hope this guy get life.

    June 2, 2009 at 1:58 am |
  14. Sharrel

    This is a hot issue here in OKC where I'm from, particurlarly in the African-American community. Although it is clear the boys should not have been commiting this crime, the pharmacist did not have to shoot to kill. The young boy was already down, not moving and unarmed. The armed robber ran out of the pharmacy and the pharmacist opened fire in public, still trying to shoot him. This is not the Wild, Wild West. And now, the presiding judge is also receiving death threats because she required Ersland to give up all of his ammo. Oh yeah, Judge Bass is also African-American. Mr. Calvey is only speaking for majority white Oklahomans when he says Mr. Ersland shouldn't be convicted.

    June 2, 2009 at 1:50 am |
  15. Jeff P.

    People who use a gun to intimidate, rob and steal, should also live in fear of getting shot. If you go around pointing a gun in people's faces, you better hope the person you are pointing the gun at doesn't have one too. I say the pharmacist had every right to shoot and kill that would-be robber. He may have gone a little overkill but to charge him with murder is wrong.

    June 2, 2009 at 1:39 am |
  16. angela m

    Anderson, i live in oklahoma and thinks these people are crazy or mad. this guy is a hero and vet. if his life was in danger that was the best he could do. these kids need to be in school not robbing people for mony. this si what happens when parents dont step up to the plate. I am black so this shutting was not race base. i am sick of the race card. get ur kids off the streets.

    June 2, 2009 at 1:37 am |
  17. Greg

    Anderson:

    I was shocked when I read about this case in the newspaper, and disgusted when I saw the store security video on your program. Mostly, however, I was outraged and ultimately disappointed to hear of the groundswell of support for this man who returned to his pharmacy after chasing away the armed robber, went behind the counter, got a second gun while having his back to the incapacitated and likely unarmed young man, and shot him five times in the abdomen. That is not self-defense. It is not justice. It is murder. It is a crime that should be prosecuted, along with the crime committed by the armed young man who fled.

    I am a public defender who often sees the state over-charge criminal defendants. However, in this case, I think the state got it right. Your legal analyst and your guest not only argued that no jury would convict the pharmacist on these facts, sad as that is, but they also seemed to ignore the fact that juries do not always get it right. Justice in this case demands that the pharmacist be prosecuted for homicide.

    Of course, whether or not he will be, or should be, convicted of first-degree murder depends upon the facts of the case, the law, the evidence presented, and the jury that is selected. We do not have all of the facts, so it is difficult to make a responsible prediction. Based soley upon the video, however, the pharmacist appears to have crossed the line from simply protecting himself to committing murder.

    Contrary to the belief of your in-studio legal anyalyst that the pharmacist should not be expected to make split-second decisions, I think that by deciding to arm himself and then defend himself, he most definitely took on the responsibililty of that sort of split- secont decision making that can lead to serious physical injury or even death. He needs to be held accountable for the decision he made, especially given his methodical actions after returning to the pharmacy.

    June 2, 2009 at 12:46 am |
  18. Herman David Bias

    After viewing the video of Mr. Erlsand, I find him not guilty of protecting himself and staff members; however, I find him guilty of reshooting the 16yr old. Mr. Erlsand should have held the wouldbe robber at gunpoint until the police arrived. Herman Bias – hermanbias@yahoo.com

    June 2, 2009 at 12:45 am |
  19. Ronald Colbert

    This is a difficult situation. A similar event occured in New York City, by a Gentleman who shot four teens on a Subway that (he stated) had tried to rob him. He shot two of the would be robbers more than two times, annoucing that " You don't look to bad, have another" and shot them again after they were disabled. Bernard Getz was dubbed the Subway Vigilant because of this incident. If the indivdual(s) can no longer offer any threat, is it nessecary to Kill them? Is a "Fit of Anger" a legal defense for killing anyone?

    June 2, 2009 at 12:38 am |
  20. Richard Carey

    This is cold blooded murder. He was to hold the 14 year old at bay for the law. Not heeped up in hate,going to get another gun ,to make sure the boy was dead.
    And some say He should not be in jail???.Loard have mersy on our souls.

    June 2, 2009 at 12:32 am |
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