Murder or Self-Defense?


Interesting article.

An Oklahoma pharmacist has been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole for first-degree murder in the shooting death of a teenager who tried to rob the south Oklahoma City pharmacy where he worked.

Confronted by two holdup men, Ersland pulled a gun, shot one of them in the head and chased the other away. Then, in a scene recorded by the drugstore’s security camera, he went behind the counter, got another gun, and pumped five more bullets into Parker as he lay on the floor unconscious.
They linked footage of the security cameras towards the bottom of the page. Pretty crazy stuff.


I think it’s pretty stupid on his part to go back and shoot the guy again, but at the same time, how the f**k is he only unconscious after a bullet to the head?


Gabby Giffords


I’d go with manslaughter




Both. Started as self defense but then went to murder when he shot the guy a few more times.


Definitely self defense.


not first degree murder, but he definitely should have gotten something for shooting what at the time was a defenseless man (albeit one who would have been facing his own criminal trial).


The video stops at 32 seconds for me but it seems to me the
threat from the kid with the bullet in his head is over.


The first shot was self defense, all other shots were manslaughter.

That’s like accidentally hitting someone with your car, and then running them over again and again, and trying to say the entire thing was an accident. It doesn’t work that way.


It’s first degree murder. I don’t know how there’s any debate.


Because it wasn’t premeditated. He didn’t go to work that day saying, I’m gonna shoot someone, and then once they’re down, I’m gonna shoot them a few more times. This is voluntary manslaughter. Not premeditated, heat of the moment, provoked, lack of time to get his head on straight.


He lost that defense when he grabbed another weapon while the boy was lying unconscious on the floor.


Still can’t be first degree. But agreed it is not self-defense.


It can be according to a jury of his peers. We’ll see if it stands on appeal. I think it will.

Revenge and retribution killings are often in the heat of the moment, but that does not stop them from being first-degree murder.


Its always self defense with the right Legal team


I couldn’t really tell from the grainy video but did he shoot the unarmed one or did both robbers have weapons?

If he shot the unarmed one: wtf. bad call all around. If you are going to fight back you should probably shoot the one pointing a gun at you first, then the other person if he does anything but slowly puts his hands up.

If the guy he shot did have a gun: I tend to have no remorse for someone who puts a gun to an innocent person’s head. I believe once you do that, you completely forfeit your right to live. Imagine the fear and adreneline in the man’s head staring down the barrell of a gun. One stupid impulse from them and you are dead. They already have a gun to your head and are robbing you, they clearly don’t have exceptional ethics, they might wanna even shoot you just to do it. So, he pulls out a gun and shoots one of the guys, does the world a favor. He does not know if he is dead, so he makes sure. Just try to imagine what is going through his head. Seconds prior, he thought he might die. What if the guy he shot recovers and goes and murders him later for revenge? Why take the chance? If it’s warranted to shoot to kill, is it really that terrible to finish the job seconds later? Does he really deserve to spend the rest of his life in prison?

oh no! that poor defenseless little boy! 16 is not old enough to know whether putting a gun to someone’s head is a good idea!



The victim gets life in prison, makes sense.


It is definitely at least murder 2. Sure he has the right to defend himself, but when he took the time to get a new gun and put 5 more shots in him, it became murder. The kid was lying on the ground with a bullet in his head. He wasn’t a threat anymore and at that point he should have just called the cops. Yes, the kid had was a danger to society and shouldn’t have robbed the store with a gun. But that doesn’t give the pharmacist special permission to carry out his own form of justice. The laws in this country don’t allow someone to carry out their own executions. As far as the premeditated aspect, he made the decision after he shot him in the head to get a new gun and finish the job. He obviously didn’t kill him by accident. However, one can make the case that he was acting in the spur of the moment, so i can see it possibly being murder in the second degree.


Two very public cases in a short period of time that had verdicts that angered portions of the public to a great extent. One completely circumstantial and the other nearly devoid of circumstantial evidence. Agree or disagree with the verdicts on moral or other non-legal grounds, the prevalence of law seems to have been upheld in both cases.

In the Anthony case, the prosecution did not have the evidence to prove Caylee was murdered let alone by her mother. The remaining evidence against Casey was disturbing and gave serious doubts about her moral fiber as a human being as well as her fitness as a parent.

Conversely this case had an autopsy report saying the 16 year old robber was alive after the first shot to the head, and may or may not have died as a result of that wound. The decision to use another weapon and fire five additional rounds was captured on video.

If this was a case where Ersland was a cop who had wounded the suspect, would there be any debate whether the cop, had a duty to protect the life of the incapacitated man? Whether it be from his robbery partner who thought killing him might keep him quiet, or from the cop himself who jeopardized his own life in the situation. The only debate can be is whether it was 1st or 2nd degree murder. BTW the victims adult adult accomplices got life plus 30 & 45 years on a 1st degree murder charge, his 14 year old armed accomplice was sentenced as a juvenile after pleading to 1st degree murder. If Ersland were to win on appeal, what does it mean for these 3 cases?

This a near text book example from a criminal law lore. A man is thrown off a building in a struggle; during his fall he is shot by a bullet fired by another man who was aiming at someone else. The autopsey reveals the bullet killed the man instantly. Who is charged with what?