Ersland Verdict Raises Questions About Protecting Self, Businesses

Friday, May 27th 2011, 9:23 pm
By: News 9

Gan Matthews, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Many Oklahomans have questions about the implications of the Jerome Ersland verdict, and what that means for people who want to protect themselves, their businesses, or their families.

A jury convicted Ersland Thursday of first-degree murder. Ersland shot and killed 16-year-old Antwun Parker in May 2009 when Parker and another teen tried to rob Ersland's pharmacy.

Roy Jones, certified instructor for concealed carry classes, says although Ersland might have made some mistakes, he doesn't deserve a murder conviction.

"If two people pull a gun on me… one's got a gun and one doesn't, I have the training. I'll defend myself against the one that's got the gun first," said Jones . "And if one runs away, I'm going to let him run. I'm not going to chase him. I'm not licensed to pursue."

Jones also defends Ersland's actions during the attempted robbery. "He was there. I believe him. With the training that he had, he probably acted appropriately."

With Ersland now facing life in prison, some are beginning to wonder whether a law that will take effect in Oklahoma this fall could have prevented charges from being filed against Ersland.

House Bill 1439 extends the self-defense protection of the "Make My Day" law to cover self-defense actions in business settings.

State Sen. Steve Russell (R-Oklahoma City), a co-sponsor of the bill, admits the law needs to go further in situations like the one Ersland faced.

"You have to make very quick judgments and very quick decisions, being the defender, and I think we need to articulate the law better on the aggressor-defender piece of the law," Russell said.

One attorney says one of the biggest mistakes Ersland made may have been his decision to speak to the police before talking to his lawyer.