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Pharmacist who shot & killed robber gets life sentence

samzheresamzhere BannedHoustonPosts: 10,923 Senior Member
If there were previous posts on this, I missed them -- sorry. Here's the link:

http://www.newsok.com/article/feed/275343

An Oklahoma City pharmacist was being robbed by 2 young men, both apparently unarmed. During the robbery there was an altercation, one robber fled, the other was knocked to the floor and was at least partially unconscious.

The pharmacist took a second gun and fired 5 shots into the robber lying on the floor. The robber died and the guy just got convicted and sent to prison for Murder One, life sentence.

I only know the circumstances of the case as I've read in the OK City paper -- you're welcome to find other info -- but imo, yes the guy was guilty of some crime, probably 2nd degree homicide or 3rd degree aggrivated homicide but certainly not 1st degree murder.

We debate armed self defense here all the time, and this case brings out some very good points for us to discuss.

I know how things can happen in the heat of passion but there is no way this guy should have fired 5 shots into the perp on the floor. In defense he said that the guy was still moving. Well, that may be true but that's no reason to fire away, either. If the guy gets back up, okay, shoot him. But lying on the floor and by all accounts, partly conscious? No way.

Nevertheless, no way either the shooter should have been charged with Murder One.

How do you see this case, and what lessons do you think this offers?

Replies

  • ericbericb Banned Helena, MTPosts: 392 Member
    I think there are a lot of unanswered questions regarding his actions. Where was the first gun? The second? Did he know the pair were unarmed? Also, he obviously had really bad defense team. I cannot see Homocide First Degree, maybe Second.

    Obviously, the threat was over, he had no right putting 5 shots into someone lying on the floor.
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Manistee Natl ForestPosts: 18,292 Senior Member
    Another reason we need to be in control of our emotions....the first shots may have been self-defense...the other 5 were indicative of rage....or fear....or contempt...

    A bad shooting, but I don't see Murder 1 here...where was the premeditation?
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • samzheresamzhere Banned HoustonPosts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Agreed. A "bad shoot" absolutely. But as you say, show me the premeditation. Justice was not served here, either way.
  • mythaeusmythaeus Senior Member Philadelphia, PAPosts: 831 Senior Member
    samzhere wrote: »
    Agreed. A "bad shoot" absolutely. But as you say, show me the premeditation. Justice was not served here, either way.

    There was a lot of other things to his story afterward. He tried to fake a gunshot injury as well as it was discovered that he lied about his military service records. He changed his story after the video was reviewed. Before the verdict, he knew that he was going to go away for a while by the comment he made about his dog.

    There was a lot of time lapsed between when he fired the first shot and the last 5 shots. He came back after chasing the first guy, went to the back, grabbed another gun, shot the guy who was on the ground 5 more times. It's very difficult to not admit (for me anyway) that his intention wasn't to kill. When the intend is to kill, that's premeditated murder, even if the "planning" time was ad hoc and short.

    Al
    "In a controversy, the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth and have begun striving for ourselves." - Siddhartha Gautama
  • LMLarsenLMLarsen Senior Member VirginiaPosts: 8,337 Senior Member
    mythaeus wrote: »
    There was a lot of other things to his story afterward. He tried to fake a gunshot injury as well as it was discovered that he lied about his military service records. He changed his story after the video was reviewed. Before the verdict, he knew that he was going to go away for a while by the comment he made about his dog.

    There was a lot of time lapsed between when he fired the first shot and the last 5 shots. He came back after chasing the first guy, went to the back, grabbed another gun, shot the guy who was on the ground 5 more times. It's very difficult to not admit (for me anyway) that his intention wasn't to kill. When the intend is to kill, that's premeditated murder, even if the "planning" time was ad hoc and short.

    Al

    Agreed. As I understand it, premeditation is the line between 1st and 2nd Degree murder, regardless of how long that premeditation takes. As long as the prosecutor can demonstrate that the doer made a decision of "I'm gonna kill this guy!", it fulfills the premeditation criterion.

    Disclaimer: I am not an attorney, but I have worked with a few dozen as a consultant. And I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express once.
    “A gun is a tool, no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.”

    NRA Endowment Member
  • SirGeorgeKillianSirGeorgeKillian Senior Member Sovereign SCPosts: 5,463 Senior Member
    Why I don't disagree with his actions by intention, I don't see where he was reacting to a immediate danger to personal injury or death. He wasn't in danger, therefore not defending himself. This isn't a case of self defense.
    Trust me, I wish this happened to all robbers, hell in my book the judge should have gave him a medal and let this be an example to all the other criminals out there. But our judicial system was never designed to protect the innocent law abiding members of society......
    Unless life also hands you water and sugar, your lemonade is gonna suck!
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    I'm in love with a Glock
  • samzheresamzhere Banned HoustonPosts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Myth and LM have made some pretty valid points regarding premeditation. I hadn't read thoroughly on this and if the guy first chased the other robber, then went into the back of the store to get another gun, and then fires 5 shots into to the prone perp, premeditation may indeed be something to consider.

    Sir George, I have to disagree. And although I see your point, firing serveral times into a prone and nonthreatening guy is something that just cannot be condoned. To do so violates not only the law but the normal precepts of self defense as we're all taught (at least I was taught), to wit, when the threat ceases, cease firing.

    Discussing the points of the case is one thing, but we do, I think, need to take a lesson from this, too. We cannot allow ourselves to go beyond the law if we're ever involved in a self defense shooting or situation. I don't think that ANY self defense instructor, LEO or private, would teach what this guy did. And even in the fairly "shoot first" state of Texas, I'm pretty sure this guy would end up in prison for what he did -- maybe not first degree murder, but he'd do hard time.

    When we're armed, it's so very difficult to make that critical decision whether to shoot. It's what we all practice for and we often "rehearse" the mindset to ourselves -- actions of shoot/no-shoot have been a common thread here. At which point do you pull that trigger? When do you not pull it?

    Of course there's no hard and fast answer but I'm pretty certain that this guy had vengance in his heart. One of my handgun instructors would tell us "vigilance not vigilante". The guy went way over the line, imo.
  • mythaeusmythaeus Senior Member Philadelphia, PAPosts: 831 Senior Member
    samzhere wrote: »
    Myth and LM have made some pretty valid points regarding premeditation. I hadn't read thoroughly on this and if the guy first chased the other robber, then went into the back of the store to get another gun, and then fires 5 shots into to the prone perp, premeditation may indeed be something to consider.

    Sir George, I have to disagree. And although I see your point, firing serveral times into a prone and nonthreatening guy is something that just cannot be condoned. To do so violates not only the law but the normal precepts of self defense as we're all taught (at least I was taught), to wit, when the threat ceases, cease firing.

    Discussing the points of the case is one thing, but we do, I think, need to take a lesson from this, too. We cannot allow ourselves to go beyond the law if we're ever involved in a self defense shooting or situation. I don't think that ANY self defense instructor, LEO or private, would teach what this guy did. And even in the fairly "shoot first" state of Texas, I'm pretty sure this guy would end up in prison for what he did -- maybe not first degree murder, but he'd do hard time.

    When we're armed, it's so very difficult to make that critical decision whether to shoot. It's what we all practice for and we often "rehearse" the mindset to ourselves -- actions of shoot/no-shoot have been a common thread here. At which point do you pull that trigger? When do you not pull it?

    Of course there's no hard and fast answer but I'm pretty certain that this guy had vengance in his heart. One of my handgun instructors would tell us "vigilance not vigilante". The guy went way over the line, imo.

    Well said Sam.

    I made up my mind a long time ago (well, relative to the 3+ years that I carried), that I will pull the trigger if I felt that my life (or the lives of innocent bystander/loved one) is in imminent danger or if there is a possibility severe injury. This is within the written law and is morally justifiable for me. The perception of threat and moral sense are different for different people, influenced by the knowledge of the surroundings and the probable outcomes of past experience and news. No one really knows what the threshold is until the situation, God forbid, presents itself, but perceived threat that is justifiable by the use of deadly force should be pretty apparent if one is "reasonable" person.

    Al
    "In a controversy, the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth and have begun striving for ourselves." - Siddhartha Gautama
  • ChuckXXChuckXX Banned Posts: 103 Member
    All I can say is it is a very sad story for everyone involved. Way too harsh of a sentence.
  • BufordBuford Senior Member CA. Beach citiesPosts: 6,722 Senior Member
    I have to agree with the sentence. As far as I'm concerned these crooks need to be culled out of society. It's a damn shame the actions of these two crooks turned this mans life upside down. The laws need to be changed but they are what they are.
    Just look at the flowers Lizzie, just look at the flowers.
  • SlanteyedshootistSlanteyedshootist Senior Member Corvallis, OregonPosts: 3,947 Senior Member
    Why I don't disagree with his actions by intention, I don't see where he was reacting to a immediate danger to personal injury or death. He wasn't in danger, therefore not defending himself. This isn't a case of self defense.
    Trust me, I wish this happened to all robbers, hell in my book the judge should have gave him a medal and let this be an example to all the other criminals out there. But our judicial system was never designed to protect the innocent law abiding members of society......

    :agree::that:
    The answer to 1984 is 1776
  • UndaCovaBrotherUndaCovaBrother Member Somewhere in the CaribbeanPosts: 76 Member
    Sad...........as far as I see it, criminals have more rights than the law abiding.
  • olesniperolesniper Senior Member Franklin, Ky.Posts: 3,767 Senior Member
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil: For I carry a .308 and not a .270
  • DeanCDeanC Member Minneapolis, MNPosts: 156 Member
    Still looking for the self-defense book with a chapter on "Applying a finishing shot".

    You shoot to stop, not to kill.
  • ADRidgeADRidge Member Posts: 173 Member
    Yeah, he was a bit too cool and collected when he finished that guy off.
    In space no one can hear you scream... but if you put a helicopter up there, some jerk would complain about the noise!
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    And stupid too, did he not remember he was on candid camera ?
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • coolgunguycoolgunguy Senior Member Somewhere north of MozambiquePosts: 6,637 Senior Member
    After watching the video, I'm not sure I could come up with a different verdict. I know video doesn't tell the wHOLE story, but it can sure tell a lot....
    "Bipartisan" usually means that a bigger than normal deception is happening.
    George Carlin
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    He put himself in a bad situation, giving folks the rope with which to hang him.
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • Zapp BraniganZapp Branigan Member Cobra Command HeadquartersPosts: 108 Member
    Anyone who's been in a life or death situation can tell you you're not right in the head for a short time after.
    The fear and adrenaline surge can put you in an other-worldy frame of mind for some time after the danger passes, you're not your normal self.
    Yes, the pharmacist really screwed up, but who put him there?
    I'm surprised some sort of hot blood/temporary insanity defense wasn't used.
    He's a retired Air Force LtCol, went on to become a pharmacist, and but for having a gun shoved in his face he's a threat to no one. The surviving perps on the other hand will rack up many more victims before they are through.
    My sympathy is with the pharmacist.
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    I suppose if he had a good attorney, The McNaughton rule / defense was a possibility....
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • gunrunner428gunrunner428 Senior Member Posts: 1,018 Senior Member
    DoctorWho wrote: »
    I suppose if he had a good attorney, The McNaughton rule / defense was a possibility....

    After a moment of head scratching, a moment on Google found the "McNaughton defense" here -
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/background/insane/insanity.html
    The McNaughton rule -- not knowing right from wrong
    The first famous legal test for insanity came in 1843, in the McNaughton case. Englishman Daniel McNaughton shot and killed the secretary of the British Prime Minister, believing that the Prime Minister was conspiring against him. The court acquitted McNaughton "by reason of insanity," and he was placed in a mental institution for the rest of his life. However, the case caused a public uproar, and Queen Victoria ordered the court to develop a stricter test for insanity.
    The "McNaughton rule" was a standard to be applied by the jury, after hearing medical testimony from prosecution and defense experts. The rule created a presumption of sanity, unless the defense proved "at the time of committing the act, the accused was laboring under such a defect of reason, from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing or, if he did know it, that he did not know what he was doing was wrong."

    The McNaughton rule became the standard for insanity in the United States and the United Kingdom, and is still the standard for insanity in almost half of the states.

    Not sure "insanity" would apply, but if I were the guy's defense counsel I would sure push for a "temporary insanity due to duress" defense!
  • DeanCDeanC Member Minneapolis, MNPosts: 156 Member
    I wonder how much of his post-incident testimony hurt him. He may have said something stupid to the cops that was tantamount to a confession. After a stressful event like that you can also say things you don't mean or are outright untrue. This is a good reminder to keep your mouth shut after a shoot.
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