Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Jerome Ersland a pharmacist Receives Life Sentence for Shooting Antwun Parker, 16, for trying to rob his shop - Self-defence or murder? - 31st My 2011

A controversial decision to send a pharmacist to jail for life for shooting dead a young man who tried to rob his store has caused a storm of protest.

Jerome Ersland was given a life sentence for the first-degree murder of 16-year-old Antwun Parker at an Oklahoma court last week.

The 59-year-old pharmacist shot the youngster six times during an attempted armed robbery in 2009, leading jurors to decide he had acted beyond the limits of self defence.

Thousands in the area have, however, reacted furiously to the decision, insisting Mr Ersland had simply acted to protect himself, his store and his customers.

The debate has now moved online, with many joining groups in his support and ones that argue his punishment is deserved on Facebook.

The argument is similarly divided on social networking site Twitter, with thousands sending out messages of support for either Ersland or the justice system.

One group on Facebook, titled 'Jerome Ersland should not have been found guilty' has more than 2,500 members.

Others, such as the 'Jerome Ersland got what he deserved' group have also attracted much attention.

There have also been petition sites started which hope to send more than 5,000 signatories to the government following the controversial court case.

Support has also come from notable public figures, including Oklahoma State Senator Ralph Shortey.

'I'm gonna spend the rest of my career, however long it may be, trying to right this wrong,' he told ABC News. Read More