Monday, May 30, 2011

Injustice in Oklahoma

Pharmacist Jerome Ersland was given a life sentence for killing an armed robber inside his pharmacy. Details and surveillance video are at the link above, but here's the concise version.

Dramatic surveillance video of the attempted burglary shows Parker and an accomplice running into the pharmacy in the crime-ridden neighborhood and pointing a gun directly at Ersland.

The video then shows Ersland, a former Air Force lieutenant colonel, firing a pistol at the two men, hitting Parker with one shot that knocked him to the ground.

After chasing Parker's accomplice out of the store, Ersland retrieved a second gun and returned to shoot Parker five more times, 46 seconds after firing the first shot.

Ersland's lawyer told ABC News that the pharmacist saw Parker moving and thought he was still alive, and still a threat."
For that action Ersland was charge with murder and received a life sentence.

In my opinion both the charge and the sentence are complete travesties. According to the article, the entire incident took place in less than a minute. Ersland's reasoning for returning to shoot the wounded criminal is perfectly plausible when you consider the amount of time that had passed. How was he to know that the wounded man wasn't going for his weapon? Was he supposed to just stand there, watch him, and wait to see what he might do?

It would be nice if prosecutors gave the benefit of the doubt to people defending their lives and businesses. Did Ersland overreact in the heat of the moment by finishing off Parker? Maybe. But charging him with murder was uncalled for. At worst he should have been charged with manslaughter, as there were clear mitigating circumstances. A life sentence based on his actions is completely insane. Apparently that sentence was recommended by the jury, but the judge still has to rule.

The judge could suspend part or all of the life term. If he chooses to uphold the jury's full suggestion, Ersland will not be eligible for parole for another 38 years and three months.
Hopefully the judge will be less pro-criminal than the jury and right this injustice.


  1. What rubbish. According to the article, the man was on the ground, and had been shot. Ersland came back a minute later, and shot him five times to finish him off. That is, by definition, murder that is not protected by self-preservation.

    "Hopefully the judge will be less pro-criminal than the jury and right this injustice."
    It seems to me that Ersland has been found to be a criminal. He killed a man, not in self defense (that is what the court found).
    You pride yourself on your objectivity and rationality, but it seems to me that you're letting your idea of "he [the robber] had it coming" cloud your judgment.

  2. Jerome Ersland killed the robber! He is innocent I am telling you! Ersland is Norwegian-American!

  3. Needless to say, Jerome Jay Ersland is the 29th generation grandson of the very first king of Norway!
    Harald Hårfagre HALVDANSSON (Very first King of Norway)
    Ålov Åbrot HARALDSDTR (son)
    Bergljot TORESDTR (grandson)
    Håkon Ladejarl SIGURDSSON (1st great-grandson)
    Bergljot HÅKONSDTR (2nd great-grandson)
    Ålov EINARSDTR (3rd great-grandson)
    Gudrun El Sigrid TORDSDTR (4th great-grandson)
    Pål Skofteson GISKE (5th great-grandson)
    Ingebjørg Pålsdtr GISKE (6th great-grandson)
    Sigrid KOLLBJØRNSDTR (7th great-grandson)
    Arne JONSSON (8th great-grandson)
    Erlend ARNESSON (9th great-grandson)
    Filipus ERLENDSSON (10th great-grandson)
    Fartegn Filipusson LOSNA (11th great-grandson)
    Filipus FARTEGNSSON (12th great-grandson)
    Samson FILIPSSON (13th great-grandson)
    Mats SAMSONSSON(?) (14th great-grandson)
    Fartegn På Ænes MATSSON (15th great-grandson)
    Anna (?) FARTEGNSDTR (16th great-grandson)
    Birgitte Lauritsdtr GALTUNG (17th great-grandson)
    Anna Olsdtr BAGGE (18th great-grandson)
    Lars (Laurits) Olsson TVEIT (19th great-grandson)
    Lars Larsson SUNDE (20th great-grandson)
    Tor Larsson UTÅKER (21st great-grandson)
    Valgjerd Torsdtr STORHAUG (22nd great-grandson)
    Jon JENS TØRRESSON Skarvaland (23rd great-grandson)
    Marta Jensdtr SKARVALAND (24th great-grandson)
    Knut Anfinnson ØLFERNES (25th great-grandson)
    Anfinn Knutson ERSLAND (26th great-grandson)
    Albert Arthur Ersland (27th great-grandson)
    Albert Arthur Ersland, Jr. (28th great-grandson)
    Jerome Jay Ersland (29th great-grandson)