A Conciliatory Request Denied
"District Attorney David Prater asked the judge to allow Ersland to have access to a gun at work in case the pharmacy is robbed again. The prosecutor said his position "sounds crazy” but he insisted that under the law Ersland has the right to defend himself and others at the pharmacy. At one point, spectators in the courtroom clapped in support of his statements.Prater was referring to the video tape evidence that makes it appear that Ersland returned to the pharmacy, picked up a second handgun, and shot the wounded robber five more times before calling 911. "I’m the one who filed the charge so my butt’s on the line," the District Attorney declared in court. Prosecutors maintain the wounded teen was unarmed and unconscious on his back when he was shot five more times. Mr. Ersland states he acted in self defense when the suspect tried to get up. The actions of the criminal at the time the shots were fired are off camera. The coroner has determined the initial head shot was not the mortal wound.
The district attorney said he worried crooks now will know it is "open season” at the pharmacy if Ersland is there. He also said Ersland could be fired.
Prater said the pharmacist would not be in court if the two robbers had not come into the drugstore. The judge said, "Then, why did you charge him, Mr. Prater?" The district attorney replied that Ersland went too far."
Jerome Ersland is out on $100,000 bail which was posted by his supporters in gun rights organizations and veteran's organizations. He is a disabled veteran from Desert Storm who wears a back brace and has his back pain controlled with morphine. He is being charged with first degree murder.
A legal defense fund has been set up for Mr. Ersland. Donations can be made to the "Jerome Ersland Defense Fund" at First National Bankd and Truct of Chickasha, 302 W. Chickasha Ave or P.O. Drawer 1130, Chickasha, 73302.