Third Mistrial Declared In Kepler Case Due To Hung Jury
TULSA, Oklahoma - A third mistrial has been declared in former Tulsa officer Shannon Kepler's case due to a hung jury.
After less than three hours of deliberations, jurors said they were split down the middle and could not reach a decision.
This was a very strange turn of events for this case compared to the last two trials. Both of the last trials for Kepler ended much later, as late as 2:30 a.m., after many hours of deliberation.
Media was not allowed in the courtroom when the judge declared the mistrial.
District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler says the family of the victim, 19-year-old Jeremey Lake, was not in the courtroom either.
Kepler and his attorneys cheered loudly in the elevator leaving the courthouse.
"It's a six-six mistrial,” said Kepler's Attorney Richard O'Carroll. “And these jurors specifically told the court and the state and the defense that they needed more evidence."
O'Carroll added that he is prepared to defend Kepler five more times if he must.
"A verdict is justice. A not guilty verdict is justice," said Kunzweiler. "That's what he was trying to tell this jury, so they're hooting and hollering about a hung jury is not justice for Jeremey Lake. I want a jury to do their job and deliver a verdict, thumbs up or thumbs down."
This was the first time the jury had the option to consider a lesser charge of manslaughter, but because they could not even reach a majority on the murder charge, that was not an option.