*No more hung juries to protect former Tulsa police officer Shannon Kepler, who has been charged with manslaughter for the 2014 murder of his daughter, Lisa Kepler’s, African American boyfriend, 19-year-old Jeremy Lake.
Three previous trials had ended in hung juries for the former Oklahoma cop. The charge carries a minimum sentence of four years in prison but sets no maximum term, leaving it up to the judge. The jury recommended that Kepler get 15 years behind bars when he’s sentenced Nov. 20.
Does something look OFF here to you, readers? A “minimum sentence of four years in prison” for KILLING a man?
OJ Simpson got more than that for robbery!
But I digress…
Weary from the previous deadlocked juries, whose 11-1, 10-2 and 6-6 votes led the judge to declare mistrials; Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler is relieved there was a conviction.
“I’m just grateful that the jury gave us some finality with this verdict,” Kunzweiler told the Associated Press.
Kunzweiler alluded to possible prejudices from some of the jurors in those previous trials, saying he believed some verdicts were based on those prejudices or preconceived notions.
“It was very obvious in some of the hung juries we had, some individuals were not doing their sworn job,” to reach a decision based on the evidence presented during the trial, he said without elaborating on the nature of those preconceived ideas.
One sole Black juror was on each of the juries at the four trials, which prompted civil rights activists to accuse Kepler’s lawyers of purposely trying to exclude potential black candidates.
Of course the accusation was denied.
The “justification” for the previous verdicts, according to attorney Richard O’Carroll, was that Kepler was trying to protect his then 18- year-old daughter; who they say had run away from the family home because her father had forbade her to bring boys to the house.
The daughter had since that time reportedly been in homeless shelters, lived in crime-ridden areas, and essentially, started dating a young man her dad didn’t approve of.
Kepler retired from the force after he was charged (so he wasn’t fired; thus protecting his income) and had even claimed he shot his daughter’s boyfriend in self defense. No weapon, however, had been found on, near or around Lake to substantiate his claim.
The Associated Press reports, at his trial this week, Kepler testified that Lake made a move toward his waistband, leading him to believe he was going for a gun.
“He’s bringing it, I’m bringing it,” Kepler said. “It was either him or me. I’m not going to stand there and get shot.”
According to prosecutors, and to me this sounds somewhat premeditated, Kepler had actually sat in his SUV watching his daughter and Lake together. The young man’s aunt said her nephew was reaching out to shake Kepler’s hand to introduce himself when the officer fired.
Officer Kepler, just a word. You’re probably going to be in prison with many of the Black men you arrested. You just as well change your name to “Betty” ’cause they are fitin’ to tear yo’ ass up!