TULSA, Okla. — A former Tulsa police officer is released from jail after facing his fifth jury trial.
60-year-old Shannon Kepler walked out of jail Friday around noon, according to Stanley Monroe, Kepler’s lawyer. In 2017, Kepler was found guilty of manslaughter in a state court. Kepler is going to be released and tried again in federal court because of the McGirt ruling.
“We believe very much that Mr. Kepler is not guilty of murder, that this was a self-defense situation,” Monroe said.
Jeremey Lake was shot and killed on the night of Aug. 5, 2014. Six years and after four trials later, with the last one ending in a conviction, the accused shooter is still being tried.
In October 2017, Kepler was found guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of his daughter’s boyfriend, Lake. Kepler was sentenced to 15 years and taken to Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla.
“Because he was a police officer, he’s had to spend his time in solitary,” Monroe said.
After three years of prison time, the manslaughter conviction is overturned. The district court determined the crime occurred in Indian country and that Kepler was an enrolled member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Kepler now awaits his federal trial date.
“We’ll just do our best to be ready whenever the judge tells us to and present the case to a jury,” Monroe said. “We feel good about the potential outcome.”
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Oklahoma will prosecute the case. Officials said they charged Kepler in a three-count indictment for Lake’s murder.
“In anticipation that Shannon Kepler’s state murder conviction would be dismissed by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged Kepler in a three-count indictment for the murder of Jeremey Lake. We did so in November to ensure a seamless and timely transition from state to federal court once the decision was made,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson. “The murder of this young man is a tragedy. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ross Lenhardt and Sean Taylor worked closely with investigators and Tulsa County prosecutors to prepare for trial and will prosecute this case for Jeremey Lake and his family.”
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