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Oklahoma Jury Says Pharmacist Jerome Ersland Guilty of First Degree Murder After Defending Pharmacy from Armed Robbers

Sat May 28 2011 8:00 am
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Jerome Ersland, 59, an Oklahoma City pharmacist at Reliable Discount Pharmacy, defended himself and employees against two armed robbers, who burst into the pharmacy with guns drawn and shooting on May 19, 2009. Jerome Ersland returned fire and hit one of the robbers in the head. That robber, Antwun Parker, collapsed. The second robber escaped out the front door. Ersland followed the second robber out the front door and confirmed that he left the scene. A security camera captured the incident on video. A third suspect, possibly in a getaway car, reached for a shotgun. Ersland aimed his weapon ‘right between his eyes’ and the third suspect fled.

Ersland then returned to the counter and pulled out a Kel-Tec .380 and shot the unconscious, Antwun Parker, offender five more times.

Jerome Ersland faced a first-degree murder charge in the shooting death of Antwun Parker, 16, and the jury ruled Ersland guilty of first-degree murder Thursday. The jury began deliberations around 1:00 p.m. Thursday and returned with a guilty verdict around 4:30 p.m. Judge Ray Elliott maintained a gag order, prohibiting the prosecution, the defense, and the jury from commenting on the verdict.

Ersland is scheduled to be sentenced July 11, the same day Anthony Morrison and Emanuel Mitchell, accomplices of Antwun Parker, are scheduled to be sentenced. Morrison and Mitchell were convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy for planning the robbery at Reliable Pharmacy.

Those satisfied with the verdict argue that the first shot was justified, but that getting another gun and shooting an unconscious man was not justified. Some say one more shot would be acceptable, but five more was not justified — arguing that it was like shooting an unarmed man.

Those outraged by the verdict, say ‘deadly force’ is deadly force. They argue that if deadly force is justified, then there is no difference whether it was one shot or five or more. Some argue that the idea of premeditated murder is preposterous because Ersland reacted — with the element of fear — because his life and his employee’s lives were threatened. Some also argue that Ersland couldn’t be certain that Parker was wounded seriously enough that the armed robber couldn’t have regained consciousness and fired more shots with a possible second concealed weapon … and that Ersland could have faced the possibility of the combined return of the second gunman … or the third. They point out that police officers usually have the luxury of a backup of two or more police officers to handle multiple threats and tasks. Ersland was outnumbered three-to-one at one point defending his own store. His supporters argue that he was justified in neutralizing at least one of the offenders as best as he could.

In August 2010, Judge Tammy Bass-LeSure recused herself from the case releasing a statement that did not include the reason for her departure from the case. The hearing, held in the judges chamber, was under seal, which meant that no one could say why the judge stepped down. Later information was released that District Judge Tammy Bass-LeSure was charged with 36 felonies for pocketing thousand of DHS dollars to care for adopted twins that did not live with her.

The Oklahoma court system also has the reputation of employing former Oklahoma district judge Donald Thompson, who was sentenced in August 2006 with a four-year prison term after he was convicted of exposing himself and using a sexual device under his robe while presiding over jury trials. The former judge was also involved in a stalking case in March 2011 after he was arrested while peering with binoculars at a woman who was stuck with a flat tire on her way to work. He was found by police nearby with his pants unzipped and gaping open.

Associated Press video report of armed robbery and self-defense shooting by pharmacist Jerome Ersland.

Full surveillance video showing before shooting, showing pharmacist checking on second fleeing suspect outside, using a second gun to shoot the suspect again, and calling (apparently) 9-1-1.

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Google ‘Street View’ of Reliable Discount Pharmacy (5900 S Pennsylvania Ave, Oklahoma City, OK) near the intersection of SW 59 and Pennsylvania.

View Chicagoland and Worldwide Crime Notebook Map in a larger map

See also …
The Cardinal VIDEO: Oklahoma City Pharmacist Shooting Armed Robber #1 Judge accused of fraud wants DA off case

KOCO-TV Judge Steps Down in Jerome Ersland Case


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