TULSA -- After three mistrials, former Tulsa police officer Shannon Kepler is back in court.
Kepler is charged with fatally shooting his daughter’s 19-year-old boyfriend Jeremey Lake back in 2014.
Jury selection has just barely started in Kepler’s fourth trial, and it’s those 12 jurors who hold the former officer’s fate in their hands.
Legal expert Adam Weintraub said, “It's a case that cries out for justice. Even though it's been four separate times that they've impaneled a jury, you got to get a verdict.”
That’s the hope this time around for both the DA’s office and Shannon Kepler. Weintraub says jury selection in this case is critical.
He said, “In this case, it might be on its head. The prosecution might be looking for jurors that the defense normally looks for - people who are a little more freer thinking, a little bit more outside the lines. It could be that that makes the difference in this case.”
Marq Lewis, community organizer for We the People, added, “Jury make up is really huge, and we haven't seen a lot of minorities that have been on this particular jury selection pool . . . It should match the demographics that are in Tulsa."
Lewis claims the prosecution could benefit from a racially mixed jury. He said, “We've seen in the past for the jury selection which was a concert, I believe it was trial number two, we had two jurors who feel that Jeremey lake was a bad person because of him being black. They felt like he was a thug. Those things are very big, and it wasn't enough to be persuade."
Whoever the twelve may be, they’ve got a difficult decision on their hands.
Weintraub said, “It's going to be critical to get jurors who haven't already made an opinion about the facts of this case and get somebody who can listen to what happened and come to a conclusion.”
The judge is giving both the prosecution and the defense three hours each for jury selection.
If she sticks to that plan, there should be a jury by the end of the day Tuesday.
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