Former Tulsa Cop Shannon Kepler Found Guilty Of Manslaughter
TULSA, Oklahoma - A jury found a former Tulsa police officer guilty of first-degree manslaughter late Wednesday in the fatal shooting of his daughter's boyfriend.
The jury, which deliberated for more than six hours, announced its verdict at 11:30 p.m. It also recommended a sentence of 15 years and a $10,000 fine for Shannon Kepler.
Sentencing for Kepler is set for November 20th.
Kepler's attorney Richard O'Carroll says he plans to appeal the verdict.
Earlier in the day, both sides rested and gave their closing arguments in the fourth murder trial of Kepler.
Kepler took the stand and testified that he shot Jeremey Lake because he wasn't given a choice and that is was him or Lake.
Kepler said he pulled the trigger because he saw Lake pull a semi-automatic weapon out of his pocket. Kepler said he fired more than one shot because Lake kept reaching for his gun.
Kepler said he never felt resentment or hatred towards Jeremey Lake, and said he went to the home where the shooting happened to find his daughter Lisa and ask her to return home.
He said he saw people coming towards him after he pulled the trigger so he got in his car and left.
The former Tulsa Police officer said he was going to call 911 but called his wife instead because "he realized he was in a pickle." Kepler told the prosecution he didn't call 911 because he thought someone else at the scene had done it, but he admitted he didn't see anyone pick up and dial.
The prosecution also pointed out that in the three-hour span between the shooting at the moment Kepler turned himself in he never checked to make sure his daughter was safe. Kepler said that's because he didn't have his daughter's cell number.
Kepler's daughter Lisa testified Tuesday. She told the jury that on the day of the shooting, she and her boyfriend Jeremey Lake were passing out water bottles to the homeless. When she and Lake walked back home, she said she noticed a Suburban parked out front.
She said her dad was driving, and when he started asking her questions she walked away. Lisa said that's when she heard shots, turned around and saw Lake hit the ground.
All three of Kepler's previous trials ended in hung juries.
Both the prosecution and defense focused their closing arguments on the testimony of Jeremey Lake's younger brother - who was 13 at the time of the shooting - and watched the shooting happen from the porch.
The prosecution argued the teenager knew details like the type and color of the gun used to kill his brother and what Kepler was wearing when he pulled the trigger, the direction the SUV went after the shooting and the way the SUV looked.
The prosecution argued those details match up with several other witnesses' accounts of the shooting.
The defense argued those details couldn't be depended on because Lake's brother was so young at the time of the shooting and the media coverage could've influenced his testimony.
The defense also argued it's not likely after Kepler's two decades with the Tulsa Police Department that his character would've changed and he would murder someone.