TPD Officer Shannon Kepler Pleads Not Guilty In Tulsa Teen's Death

Tuesday, August 19th 2014, 12:16 pm
By: News On 6

Tulsa police officer Shannon Kepler makes his first court appearance since prosecutors charged him with first-degree murder and shooting with intent to kill in the death of 19-year-old Jeremey Lake.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges at his arraignment Tuesday, which is standard procedure. 

Shannon Kepler's attorney came out swinging, first accusing the district attorney of a lack of character for filing the charges and next, saying the police chief threw Kepler under the bus in a recent TV interview.

"When the chief of police comes out and starts speculating about domestic abuse and implying someone here was abused, when the exact opposite is true, it's shameful," said Richard O'Carroll.

The chief told News On 6 this situation was a domestic matter, not a police matter, pointing out the shooting happened when Kepler was off duty.

8/18/2014 Related Story: Tulsa Police Officer Charged With Murder

Kepler's attorney says the couple loves their three adopted daughters, but their 18-year-old daughter Lisa has well documented mental disorder. He said her parents have done everything to help her, but nothing worked.

"People were breaking into their house in the middle of the night," O'Carroll said. "Lisa, bless her heart, left the home. She wouldn't abide in the rules; men couldn't be in the house. She preferred to live in a homeless shelter among desperate people, violent people."

The district attorney's office says it will let the evidence speak for itself.

"We have a family that's lost a loved one and are going to move forward with the prosecution," said assistant Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunsweiler.

Kepler's wife and fellow officer, Gina Kepler, was in court to support him. She was not charged with a crime.

Her attorney says she should never have been falsely arrested for accessory and she's relieved the district attorney realized that.

"She hasn't done anything wrong. She didn't do anything wrong. And the only people who did anything wrong in our opinion, was TPD," said Scott Troy, Gina Kepler's attorney.

"She's holding up really well," he said. "She's a tough lady, and she's under very difficult circumstances, don't really, really well.

Kepler's attorney says the only two eye witnesses are teenagers - one with a mental disorder and one with a history of mental illness and violence.

"There is not one credible eyewitness at the scene. This is all about politics, and it's ugly," said Richard O'Carroll, Shannon Kepler's attorney.

The next step in this case is for Gina Kepler to find out what happens to her job at the Tulsa Police Department. Her husband Shannon Kepler remains in jail without bond, and his next court date is October.