An Oklahoma jury will be asked to decided whether pharmacist Jerome Ersland, 57, is a hero or a murderer. A video camera captured Ersland pumping rounds into an unconscious and unarmed teenager who tried to rob his store on May 19th.
Gun rights advocates have rallied behind Ersland and his lawyer insists that the video shows an act of self-defense. The case has many of the disturbing elements as the Gonzalez case in Texas.
Ersland currently faces a first-degree murder charge in the killing of Antwun Parker, 16, and could face a possible death penalty. He shot Parker in the head and then chased another teen outside. When he returned, he delivered the coup de grâce by shooting Parker five more times. An autopsy showed that Parker was still alive before Esland returned and unloaded into this body.
Ersland was not being threatened at that time and was armed. He had already chased one suspect out of the store and shot Parker upon returning. For the video click here. The video shows Ersland walking to the back of the store after returning and then casually coming back to finish off Parker. I fail to see the justification for the final shots as opposed to the first shot.
On its face, it does not appear to be an act of self-defense. We discuss such situations often in torts. Self-defense (as opposed to protection of property) allows the use of lethal force to repel a commensurate and proportional threat. If you are threatened by serious bodily injury or death, you are privileged to use lethal force. However, this privilege does not include the right to retaliate and expires with the passage of the imminent threat.
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