OKLAHOMA CITY, July 19 (UPI) -- An Oklahoma pharmacist who killed an unarmed teenage robber while he was lying on the floor unconscious has appealed his first-degree murder conviction.
Jerome Ersland's new lawyer says his client, in the confusion of a robbery, did not have time to form the conscious attempt to kill, The Oklahoman reported. Doug Friesen also argues that Ersland's lawyers during his trial did not consider the possibility that he has Asperger's syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism.
Ersland, now 60, received a life sentence for the shooting at Reliable Discount Pharmacy in Oklahoma City.
Two teenagers, Antwun Parker, 16, and Jevontai Ingram, 14, attempted to rob the pharmacy in May 2009. Investigators say the two were acting under the direction of two men who gave Ingram a gun, while Parker was unarmed.
Ersland shot Parker in the head as he donned a mask inside the store. He then pursued Ingram, who had run out the door, returned to the store, got a second gun and shot Parker several more times, prosecutors said.
Friesen said that if Ersland has Asperger's syndrome he would have had even more difficulty than others in acting rationally in the situation.
"When you're confronted with a very unusual, startling situation, the mind immediately goes into a fugue state ... where it is impossible ... to form any kind of conscious thoughts," Friesen said.