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A white former Oklahoma cop has been found guilty for the murder of his daughter’s Black boyfriend — a slaying that he has previously been to trial for four times.
A federal jury has found Shannon Kepler, 60, guilty of murder for the 2014 killing of 19-year-old Jeremey Lake, the Department of Justice’s Northern District of Oklahoma announced in a Monday press release. The jury also found Kepler, a former Tulsa Police Department officer, guilty of firing his gun at Lake’s younger brother during the deadly incident.
“Today, Shannon Kepler was found guilty of using and discharging a firearm in the second-degree murder of Jeremey Lake and for assaulting Lake’s brother with a firearm in Indian Country after his previous state conviction was dismissed as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s McGirt decision,” Acting U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson stated in the press release.
The Supreme Court’s McGirt decision in July ruled that, as pertaining to the Major Crimes Act, much of the eastern portion of Oklahoma remains as Native American land. Kepler had appealed his October 2017 state manslaughter conviction on grounds that his case should have been tried in federal court due to the fact he was a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. The shooting took place on the nation’s reservation.
The trial’s conclusion, following six hours of jury deliberation, marked the latest ruling for Kepler. He went to court on state murder charges four times, with three trials ending in hung juries before he was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years in prison. During his fourth trial, his defense team was accused of trying to intentionally eliminate Black jurors, Tulsa World reported in 2017. This trial marks his case’s first appearance in a federal court.
During the recent trial, Lisa Kepler, testified that she loves and forgives her father, KOTV-DT in Oklahoma reported. But she told the court that she saw her dad in a black SUV at the murder scene and recalled talking to her father and walking away before hearing three gunshots.
The Department of Justice shed light on the details leading up to the slaying in its announcement of the verdict.
“Shannon Kepler and his wife were having a difficult time with their adopted daughter, Lisa. The behavior continued, and the Keplers eventually dropped her off at a homeless shelter shortly after she turned 18,” the press release states. “Kepler provided her with no clothing—other than what she was wearing, no money, no cell phone, and no credit cards.”
Afterward, Kepler viewed Jennifer's Facebook page, only to become "alarmed" that she was now listed as “in a relationship” with Jeremey Lake. He then requested a records clerk to run a search on Lake’s history and found the teen’s address.
“Kepler changed clothes, waited until dark, retrieved his .357 magnum revolver, and drove his wife’s dark SUV to the home where Lake was staying,” the DOJ said. “Kepler testified that he knew the revolver would not leave shell casings at the scene.”
Kepler has maintained that he killed Lake in self-defense.
“He tried to talk to his daughter, but she rebuffed him and started walking toward the home,” the press release states. “As Lake stood in the street, Kepler pulled his revolver and shot Jeremy Lake twice, quickly causing his death.”
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