Self-Defense or Murder: Oklahoma Case Sparks Debate (Video)http://abcnews.go.com/US/life-sentence-oklahoma-pharmacist-sparks-debate/story?id=13719078
By CLAYTON SANDELL (@Clayton_Sandell) , SABRINA PARISE and KATIE KINDELAN
May 30, 2011
A story of crime and punishment that is dividing an Oklahoma community has now entered the online world, raising questions about what is self-defense and first-degree murder.
The debate stems from the life sentence an Oklahoma City, Okla., jury handed down to pharmacist Jerome Ersland on May 26 for a first-degree murder conviction in the killing of 16 year-old Antwun Parker.
Ersland's attorneys told jurors throughout the murder trial that their client had acted in self-defense when he shot Parker six times during an attempted robbery at his Oklahoma City pharmacy. Prosecutors, meanwhile, argued Ersland went too far.
"This defendant was absolutely not defending himself or anyone else," Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Chance told jurors during closing arguments Thursday.
Defense attorney Irven Box asked jurors to close their eyes and imagine what they would do in the same situation.
"He eliminated the armed robber," Box said.
After 3.5 hours of deliberation, the jury — eight women and four men — recommended a life sentence.
Self-Defense, or Murder?
In the days since the verdict, an outpouring of support erupted in Ersland's hometown of Oklahoma City, with calls for Oklahamo Gov. Mary Fallin to commute the local man's sentence.
"I'm gonna spend the rest of my career, however long it may be, trying to right this wrong," one prominent supporter, Oklahoma State Sen. Ralph Shortey (R), told ABC News. Continued...
If I were a juror he would have gotten off--clearly self-defense.