Shannon Kepler's Attorney Loses Bid To Throw Tulsa DA Off Murder Case
TULSA, Oklahoma - A former Tulsa police officer lost a bid to delay his murder trial. His attorney was asking for the delay and for the district attorney to be kicked off the case.
Former officer Shannon Kepler was accused six months ago of killing his daughter's boyfriend.
Kepler is out on bond while his case goes through the legal maneuvering that happens before a trial.
He could be out a while longer if his attorney manages to get traction on claims the district attorney coached one of the witnesses.
Kepler was arrested last August hours after a shooting downtown. The victim was 19-year-old Jeremy Lake, the new boyfriend of Kepler's estranged daughter.
The victim's little brother testified in a hearing that he was told what to say by District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler - a claim Kunzweiler explains as simply telling the witness to tell the truth.
"I don't know a prosecutor in this country who isn't going to have a conversation with a witness and tell them we're in a proceeding where truth is the most important part and you need to tell the truth," he said.
Kepler's attorney, Richard O'Carroll, thinks it must have been more than that; and if it was, Kunzweiler ought to be taken off the case.
"Yeah, right. He stood up and said ‘Did I tell you to lie?' He's not going to do anything that obvious. Tell the truth, and the truth is," O'Carroll said.
With more than an hour in court to make the claim stick, O'Carroll didn't get anywhere with the judge who denied a delay in the case so the DA's ethics could be more fully examined.
O'Carroll pledged to bring up the issue again soon, and again at trial.
“Well do you think I'm not going to feature that a crucial witness was told what to say,” O'Carroll asked.
Kunzweiler said he's ready for the trial to determine whether Kepler killed Lake.
The trial, at the earliest, would be this fall - a year after the shooting.
That could be pushed back as attorneys and the courts work on scheduling. The next hearing in the case isn't until May.