- Mar 13, 2004
If posted, go ahead and lock...
here's the background...
here's the background...
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A pharmacist 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 May 19 and one of them, 16-year-old Antwun Parker, 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 by Ersland," Prater said.
Ersland's attorney, Irven Box, said Ersland was protecting himself and two women inside the Reliable Discount Pharmacy. Box said he thinks a jury will exonerate Ersland.
"I think he did something in his eyes that protected both himself and two ladies in there," the attorney said. "He put an end to the threat."
An affidavit written by Detective David Jacobson said Ersland's account doesn't match the video or the evidence collected at the scene.
"Ersland shows no concern for his safety as he walks by Parker, and turns his back to Parker as he walks behind the pharmacy counter," Jacobson said. "Ersland is then seen to put the pistol he is carrying on the counter, and retrieve a second pistol from a drawer."
Ersland used this pistol 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 told The Oklahoman newspaper that he was grazed by a bullet during the confrontation, but Prater said Wednesday the evidence didn't support that.
"There was no evidence at the scene that the robbery suspects ever fired a round inside the pharmacy," Prater said Wednesday.
An autopsy determined Parker was alive after being shot in the head and died from the abdominal wounds.
Ersland, 57, was 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.