is self-defense worth it?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by beast, May 27, 2011.


  1. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    Okla. jury convicts pharmacist once hailed as hero
    AP

    Okla. jury convicts pharmacist once hailed as hero - Yahoo! News

    Jerome Ersland stands as his guilty verdict is read by Judge Ray C. Elliott in Oklahoma City, Thursday, May 26, 2011. A jury convicted Ersland, an Okl AP – Jerome Ersland stands as his guilty verdict is read by Judge Ray C. Elliott in Oklahoma City, Thursday, …
    By TIM TALLEY, Associated Press – Thu May 26, 8:34 pm ET

    OKLAHOMA CITY – A jury Thursday convicted an Oklahoma City pharmacist of first-degree murder, saying he went too far when he pumped six bullets into a teenager who tried to rob the drug store where he worked, and suggested he spend the rest of his life in prison.

    Jerome Ersland, 59, had been hailed as a hero for protecting two co-workers during the May 19, 2009, robbery attempt at the Reliable Discount Pharmacy in a crime-ridden neighborhood in south Oklahoma City.

    A prosecutor, however, said that after Ersland shot Antwun Parker in the head, knocking the 16-year-old to the ground, Ersland made himself "judge, jury, executioner" by getting a second handgun and shooting the boy five times in the abdomen. A coroner's report said the latter shots killed Parker.

    "This defendant was absolutely not defending himself or anyone else," Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Chance told jurors during closing arguments Thursday.

    Defense attorney Irven Box asked jurors to close their eyes and imagine what they would do in the same situation, and told them Ersland had to take action to end a threat.

    "He eliminated the armed robber," Box said.

    Police said Parker wasn't armed, and since the shooting have disputed Ersland's claim that he was wounded during the robbery attempt. Ersland did not testify at the trial.

    The jury — eight women and four men — recommended a life sentence after deliberating 3.5 hours. Oklahoma County District Judge Ray Elliott can impose a lighter sentence when Ersland is sentenced July 11, but cannot depart upward. If he accepts the jury's suggestion, Ersland would be eligible for parole after 38 years and three months.

    The jury's recommendation carries considerable weight. The defense must ask for a reduced penalty, and Elliott must justify any decision to reject the jurors' suggestion.

    Ersland, in a dark jacket and red tie, showed no emotion as the verdict was read and was immediately taken into custody. He remained silent as sheriff's deputies led him in handcuffs to an elevator reserved for defendants.

    The victim's family members, including Parker's mother, Cleta Jennings, and his aunt, Mona Stewart, ran out of the courtroom crying when the verdict was announced and wept in the hallway before departing via a public elevator.

    Box and District Attorney David Prater declined to comment until after Ersland's sentencing. Jurors left the courthouse after declining to speak.

    Ersland, a former Air Force lieutenant colonel, worked at a pharmacy that had been robbed before. Immediately after the shooting, anti-crime advocates and many listeners and viewers of talk shows called Ersland's actions heroic.

    A video from the store showed Ersland firing a pistol at two men after they burst into the store, one of them armed. Ersland hit Parker with one shot, knocking him to the ground, and chased the other suspect out the door. After returning to the pharmacy, he retrieved a second gun and shot Parker five more times 46 seconds after firing the first shot.

    Jurors visited the pharmacy during the trial.

    Box had said Ersland was protected by provisions of Oklahoma's "Make My Day Law," named after a Clint Eastwood line in "Dirty Harry." Legislators in the 1980s initially gave residents the right to use deadly force when they feel threatened inside their homes, then in 2006 extended that to their automobiles or workplaces.

    Prater said Ersland had the legal right to defend himself and his co-workers during the attempted robbery — and did when he fired the first shot that struck Parker in the head, knocking him unconscious. But the district attorney said deadly force must be used responsibly.

    "There's got to be limitations on that," Prater said. "This isn't about gun rights. This is about murder."

    The second teen who entered the pharmacy with Parker, Jevontai Ingram, was sentenced to a state juvenile facility after pleading guilty to first-degree murder under Oklahoma's felony murder law. That law allows a murder charge against someone when an accomplice is killed during the commission of a crime.

    Prosecutors say two men, Anthony D. Morrison, 44, and Emanuel Mitchell, 33, recruited the teens and helped plan the robbery. They were convicted of first-degree murder in early May and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Near the end of their trial, Mitchell slugged Prater in the face at the end of Prater's closing statement in the penalty phase. Deputies jumped on Mitchell to subdue him and took him away.

    As Ersland's trial wrapped up Thursday, 10 sheriff's deputies stood by in the packed courtroom and Elliott warned the crowd to remain orderly.

    "This has been a very emotional case for all parties involved," Elliott said. "If you feel for whatever reason you can't maintain your composure, I suggest you step out in the hall."
     
  2. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    He went too far shooting the youth an additional 6 times, by the laws of Texas anyhow. The disabling shot to the head followed by covering the individual with his handgun while 911 was dialed would have been sufficient. We are not executioners. It would be like accidentally hitting someone with your car and throwing it in reverse to make sure the job was done. Deadly force has its uses and its limits.
     
  3. Cephus

    Cephus Monkey+++ Founding Member

    I watched vid some time back and I know i wouldn't done what he did !
     
  4. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    i have to agree with you guys
    but...
    i know how far the gov will go to prove someone did something
    the gov doesnt approve of
    and it aint good
     
  5. Huntinbull

    Huntinbull Monkey+

    I have not seen the video, so my comments are of a general nature, not directly in context.

    I know that if I shoot an intruder/attacker I will continue to shoot until they are no longer struggling to rise. Writhing in pain is the only movement I will consider as safe.
     
  6. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    when you look at the number of criminals that win suits against the victims becuz they got shot or beat you start to wondering if you should keep shooting TIL they are dead for sure, as in NO chance of revival
     
  7. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    Civil cases are separate from Criminal cases. Take OJ Simpson for example. No criminal conviction, but he lost everything in a civil suit. However, the OP was very clear this was a clear criminal violation by the shooter, not civil. I agree with the decision. I am a gun owner, a CHL holder, and a strong advocate of defending oneself and innocents against violent criminals.
     
    craneje likes this.
  8. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Shooting the prone Perp SIX times, was certainly excessive, in my judgement. If her had just put ONE projectile into his head or heart, with the second firearm, I would have voted to let him "Go Free" Emptying six shots into him After the fact, shows "Rage" in my book, and a man "Out of control of himself" and that denotes "Premeditation" in my judgement, and a Guilty Verdict, is justified. ....... YMMV.....
     
    Falcon15 likes this.
  9. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    He went way beyond self defense and firmly into the rhelm of exocutioner. Once a threat is negated, anything more is pissing on trees and should be delt with as such.
     
    craneje and Falcon15 like this.
  10. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    He lost control which is unforgivable when firearms are involved.
     
  11. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor

    So I guess taking the head as a trophy, and placing it on a pole in front of the store as a warning to future potential robbers would be considered inappropriate also?[loco][dunno]
    .
    Just joking folks. I have seen the video, and I believe he exceeded the neccessary levels of force and deadly force. That said I think the defense dropped the ball as well. Should have gone for diminished capacity / trauma / PTSD due to almost getting killed in a gunfight. Probably his first ever. His adrenalin levels had to be off the charts. Ditto heart rate and blood pressure. No way could he have been thinking clearly.
    .
    Honestly how many of us are untested. How many know where we will start and stop in a situation like this. Hell, I might have taken his head as a trophy... jmho
     
    STANGF150 and Gator 45/70 like this.
  12. UGRev

    UGRev Get on with it!

    Brother.. you can only kill a guy once.. As soon as he's dead, 6 more shots doesn't mean ****. That being said, I didn't see the video, but it sounds like the perp was sufficiently incapacitated and was summarily shot to ensure death. Do I have this correct? If so, then I say Darwin wins. A bad guy is off the streets and the people save millions on keeping a hard core criminal in jail with three hots and cot. Win Win and I'm not afraid to say it.

    Sometimes I read stuff here that just makes me scratch my head. Would I have done it? probably not.. but who's to know how people are going to react when they're lives are "under the gun", literally. All I know is I'm going to do my best to make sure that I go home to my family and so will others because a killer is off the streets. It's not like this guy was out looking to shoot someone and extra 6 times on a daily basis.

    Was it excessive? not given the circumstances (if I have them correct). Fine him some cash and suspend his permit for a year... but jail time? really?
     
    STANGF150 likes this.
  13. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    Rev, the issue was, the guy shot the perp in the head, then fetched a second gun, fired six more shots into him (abdominal) ensuring he was dead. There was malice aforethought in those actions. Murder 1. Rather than covering the downed individual (who was at the minimum out of it for a good long time) and calling the authorities.
    Playing devils advocate here: the defense should have tried to plead the charges down to Murder 2 - under a crime of passion. Adrenalin was high. I cannot say with concrete certainty that he was in control of his actions, he could have been acting out of fear, anger, etc.

    Again on the flip side, it was an unlawful killing, with FORETHOUGHT. The shooter had to get the second gun, unsafe it and commence shooting. His intention was unlawful murder.

    Here is the video:
    LiveLeak.com - Raw Surveillance; Pharmacist Shoots Armed Robber, Was Charged With Murder
     
  14. UGRev

    UGRev Get on with it!

    if the perp was shot in the head and killed on the spot. It could not be murder with the following shots. You only get to kill someone once. One MIGHT be able to wiggle into aggravated assault against a corpse, however :)

    .. I know, I know.. law is based upon intent and this guy had every intent of making sure he stayed breathing and the other guy didn't. But this whole thing has now flipped it and made the perp into the victim.. that's liberal territory, and I'm not going there.
     
  15. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    That is the way that I see it. How an armed perp can become a "victim" is beyond me. Unfortunately, that is the way the law is worded. In my personal opinion, if you show homicidal intent in a crime, there should be no repercussions against anyone that intervenes. I believe that should go for any place and time. Not just castle-type laws.

    Having said that, I probably wouldn't have bothered with additional shots after a CNS / cranium hit. There just isn't any need for it. I assume with the retrieval of the second pistol, ammo must be running low... the worst wrong was the tactical wrong IMHO.... and forgetting about the camera ;)

    That dude is cold blooded....
     
    Brokor likes this.
  16. UGRev

    UGRev Get on with it!

    I seriously doubt the dude is cold blooded. Probably more on the lines of "I've had enough of this ****... ". I liken this to putting up pikes with heads atop them .. a warning for other perps that not only will you end up dead.. but your corpse will end up extra orifices after the fact.
     
  17. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    To be honest that would be very unsanitary. Dead people stink so Vlad the Impaler must not have had a sense of smell. For a store the bugs and smell wouldn't help business much either.
     
  18. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    well it could be sealed in lucite couldn't it?

    Anyway, he should have used a .45acp because it's silly to shoot twice (or more)

    Obviously he missed the day they went over the double tap drills. It's bang , bang. Not bang, wait 40+seconds, go get another gun, bang bang bang etc.

    All i really have to say is one less criminal walking the streets. And unfortunately an individual that let the situation over take his better jugdement heading off to the can.
     
  19. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member


    Women do tend to be Liberals. Just sayin'.

    I agree with Al, except I wouldn't call the guy cold blooded. In the heat of the moment, defending yourself from a few armed thugs who just shot up your store and robbed it requires equal or greater force. The scum who were willing to kill and rob should not be granted honorable privilege, if they are gunned down like the dogs they are, I say good job. Put them to rest any way you can. Resist the darkness, fight tyranny and oppression and aggression in any way you see fit in order to preserve your most precious gift: your own life. Sure, we may not like the manner in which this guy got the job done, but there's still one less criminal in action. Dead is dead.

    No government or jury has the right to judge you for defending your own life and safety against deadly intent of others. The act of defense requires you to defeat the threat or suffer as a consequence of inaction or insufficient retaliation. What does 5 extra bullets in the abdomen prove that one in the head did not? It shows that this guy doesn't give second chances to killers. We shouldn't either.
     
  20. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor

    Crap! I tried to watch the video again here but could not. As I recall there were several videos released on this. Chopped for the most part to suit the Media desires as to how you could be manipulated to believe whatever. I have seen the uncut entire video. If memory serves properly, there was only one perp armed. There was one hell of an intense exchange of gunfire over a very short span of time. In the gunfire melee, the unarmed perp received a grazed skull that put him down and almost out, but he was squirming around slightly. The perp with the gun fled and was later, much later captured. As the pharmacist just realizes the one perp has left the other moves, a customer screams or whatever, and the pharmacist points his gun at the down but moving perp and gets a empty click or just nothing.
    .
    yes it should have ended right then. He stated later he didn't know the downed perp had no gun. When his gun went click, he retrieved a second gun, rounded the counter at shot the man on the ground several times. It was later discovered although there was a ton of blood from the head wound, that the head wound was NOT the kill shot. The later shots while he was down did the deed.
    .
    I doubt I would have rounded the counter and shot the guy down unless I saw a weapon, but I damn sure would have made sure his hands were empty and could be seen until he was subdued, or the police arrived. Flip him face down, hands out away from body, on his freakin back, and tape his wrists together or whatever. Any serious resistance or hands going under his body and I would have shot him again, yelled for customers to move to safety away from the perp, outside if possible. I would have been more concerned for the customers than for myself. jmho
     
    VisuTrac and Falcon15 like this.
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