OKLAHOMA CITY (CBS/AP) He's the pharmacist that fought back, killing a teen would-be robber, who entered an Oklahoma drug store where he worked. James Jay Ersland now finds himself at the center of a raging controversy: can self defense turn into murder?
The facts of the case are not in dispute. On May 19, two young men entered the Reliable Discount Pharmacy with guns drawn. The 57-year-old Ersland pulled out his weapon too, fired at the men, hitting one in the head rendering him unconscious and sending the other racing out the door. Ersland briefly left the store, then returned and shot the unconscious man five more times until he was dead. The victim, Antwun "Speedy" Parker, was 16.
Prosecutors say he went too far and are trying him for murder. But many in Oklahoma haven't seen it that way. At his bail hearing he received cheers and a supporter posted his $100,000 bond.
A security camera video of the event has shot across the net and inflamed the debate. Last night, Ersland appeared on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor" with his attorney, Irven Box to tell his side of the story.
O'Reilly asked Ersland why he returned to the pharmacy and fired the five extra shots at Parker.
Ersland said he was trying to protect himself and two women who were in the store. He thought Parker had already shot him and one of the women and feared the teen would get up and try to kill him. He says he heard the woman crying, "Megan, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry." The two females were a mother and daughter, he said.
"I went up to him, and he seemed to be just dazed," Ersland told O'Reilly. "And he started talking to me, and he started turning to the right. I'm crippled. ... I thought I was going to get killed in the next few seconds."
Prosecutors contend that Ersland was the only person that fired shots during the incident.
Monday's interview was the first given by Ersland since prosecutors charged him on Wednesday. He is free on a $100,000 bond.
Box told The Oklahoman that Ersland will return to work on Tuesday and that the pharmacy's owner has hired an off-duty police officer to guard the store while Ersland is on the premises.