Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Unless the prosecutor has some evidence to prove the pharmacist lying,

then he's going to get his ass handed to him.
Pharmacist Jerome Ersland of Chickasha has been charged with 1st degree murder in the recent shooting death of an armed robber inside an Oklahoma City pharmacy.

District Attorney David Prater filed the charge after reviewing police reports and, apparently, a videotape from cameras that captured the entire incident.

The videotape, released to the news media by Prater this afternoon, is about 11 seconds long. After Ersland's initital shot at the robber, who clearly has a pistol in his hand, Ersland pursues the second robber to the door. It shows Ersland then walking behind the counter, down an aisle way, opening a drawer, removing a pistol, then walking back to the wounded robber, leaning over and shooting him repeatedly. The robber isn't visible in the videotape, but Ersland firing is visible.

The charge alleges Ersland repeatedly shot Antwun Parker, 16, while Parker was semi-conscious, incapacitated and prone on the floor. Ersland’s account of the incident doesn’t match the video or the evidence collected at the scene, Oklahoma City Police Detective David Jacobson wrote in his affidavit
Now, it's possible that this is the case; but if it's not, then the question becomes 'why this charge?'. From the story Clayton Cramer noted:
But as he started to chase after the second robber, Ersland said, he looked back to see the 16-year-old he had shot in the head getting up again. Ersland said he then emptied the Kel-Tec .380 into the boy’s chest as he kept going after the second robber.

"I went after the other guy, but he was real fast and I’m crippled,” Ersland said
I haven't seen the video, but as it says above the deceased isn't visible in it. And there's another factor: Ersland is said to have recently had back surgery and be in a brace. If the robber was indeed getting back up... personally, I'd come down on the side of the pharmacist; he's got other bad guys around and the wounded one still quite possibly a threat.

Unless there's another video that's not been released showing the deceased at the time, then the video doesn't much. And I'm wondering what 'evidence collected at the scene' boils down to.

Unfortunately, there's the possibility this is politically motivated; pressure from racial-grievance groups for prosecution. I don't know anything about Prater; it may be that he'd never give in to such, but I don't know. It wouldn't be the first time a prosecutor with an eye on future politics did something he shouldn't have.

We'll see what else comes out.


TomB said...

Clayton Cramer also said, at the end of the same posting:

"The surveillance video does seem to confirm that while the first shot was in self-defense, subsequent shots were not even close to being in self-defense."

Don Gwinn said...

It seems like they're relying more on what you can see of the Pharmacist's demeanor--he does seem remarkably casual about walking past the robber on the floor, and about turning his back on him. He doesn't even seem to be keeping an eye on the first robber when he comes back in, goes behind the counter, retrieves another gun and comes back to fire five more shots.

We can't see what the man on the floor is doing, but I bet they're betting that a jury won't believe he was in fear for his life or others. In most states, the defense needs to show that a reasonable person in the same circumstances would have been in fear for someone's life or grave injury. You don't necessarily have to have been right, but you have to show that you believed in the threat and that a reasonable person would have, too. If you look like you don't think there's a threat, you invite this kind of prosecution.

Now, I'm no expert, and I don't know how tunnel vision and time dilation and adrenaline dumps and what-have-you might have contributed to his demeanor. I'm just saying what I think the prosecutors are thinking about that tape.

Firehand said...

It's a mess. Don, I think you're right.

I agree he doesn't look flustered; other side of that is, I've seen people acting 'normally' at first glance who were so freaked it was amazing. I could see a man shot at, injured, scared to death, maybe a bit in shock, acting that way. Maybe seeing the guy getting up/trying to and thinking "He's getting back up, he's going to shoot me!" and firing.

We'll see what happens.