[Publishers Note – We, the Black Wall St. Times, received this anonymous letter on Monday, October 2, 2017. We think it’s worth taking a look at, so we decided to publish this anonymous letter.]
A Gentle Young Soul
In August 2014, a young man needlessly and senselessly died in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was shockingly executed in a deliberate attack by an off-duty Tulsa city police officer. Although there were numerous witnesses to the crime and abundant supporting evidence, including leaving the scene of the crime and evading arrest, there has been no justice for Jeremy Lake in over three years.
Jeremy Lake was 19 years old when he was murdered in cold blood by Shannen Kepler. Jeremy lived with his aunt in a small house located at Maybelle and Brady, the intersection where his execution took place. Their home is situated adjacent to the Tisdale Parkway, just two blocks away from the Tulsa Day Center for the homeless on Arthur Street in downtown Tulsa. Jeremy was a young man trying to find his way, was the father of a beautiful infant son, and was enrolled to begin Tulsa Welding School the week following his murder. Jeremy often spent time during the day to visit the Day Center and check on the homeless people who camped in the surrounding area, taking them water, snacks and blankets at times Jeremy was well liked and appreciated for his kindness and compassion for others. Jeremy had in his heart, and love for others, for those less blessed.
About a week before his murder, Jeremy met a young woman at the Day Center named Lisa Kepler, a troubled 18-year-old who had been left at the Day Center by her parents, Shannon and Gina Kepler, who had adopted Lisa and her two younger sisters when Lisa was eight-years-old, rescuing them from a traumatic childhood. But, Lisa was a rebellious teen who was beyond control by the Kepler’s. They removed Lisa from their home perhaps in a desperate act – tough love. You can imagine it must have been a very stressful and emotional time for all of the Kepler family.
Jeremy and Lisa formed a friendship and began spending their time together. Lisa had been left at the day Center by her parents, with nothing but the clothes on her back, and she soon begins staying the night with Jeremy at the nearby house on Maybelle. On the day of his murder, they each posted on Facebook that they were in a relationship. Shannon and Jeana noticed Lisa’s post. And they took quick action. Then 12 hours Jeremy lake was dead.
Shannon and Gina were both employed by the Tulsa Police Department for 24 years. Shannon was working at the Tulsa Police Academy at the time of the murder. After seeing the Facebook post by Lisa, in violation of TPD policies, Shannon and Gina used police resources, with assistance from others in the TPD, to discover all state records of Jeremy lake, including his home address. On the afternoon of August 5, Shannen went home after work, met with his wife Gina, and devised a plan to intervene in leases budding relationship.
What was the plan? What are we to believe was in the minds of Shannon and Gina Kepler?
Shannon L chose to Kari that evening and old. 45-caliber service revolver instead of his normal care of your weapon-the one he wore every other day- A semi-automatic pistol; for revolvers leave no shell casings when fired.
Shannon Kepler chose to wear a black stocking cap and a black jacket on a hot Oklahoma August night and a poor attempt to disguise himself.
Shannon and Gina Kepler took Gina’s black Chevy Suburban to the intersection of Maybelle and Brady, arriving at dusk at about 8:45 PM, timing their arrival to be the same as Lisa and Jeremy’s.
Shannon Kepler arrived in Gina’s Suburban and parked diagonally across the middle of the intersection of Maybelle and Brandy in front of the house. He remained in the car. At about the same time, Jeremy and Lisa approached the house on foot from the direction of the Day Center to the east on Brady. It is reasonably clear to assume that their simultaneous arrivals were a result of surveillance by Shannon Kepler (or others in his sphere), not just a coincidence.
As Lisa and Jeremy approached the intersection, Jeremy’s brother Michael, age 12, and Josh, a friend of Jeremy’s, watched from the porch of Jeremy’s aunt’s house at 202 N. Maybelle. Shannon Kepler began shouting at Lisa, saying “What the hell are you doing here?” Lisa yelled back, “I’m not talking with you.” As she turned to walk away, she told Jeremy not to talk with him, to just walk away. Shannon Kepler exited the Suburban. Jeremy faced toward Shannon Kepler and said “Hi. I’m Jeremy Lake.” Perhaps a few other invectives and curses could have been exchanged, but no conversation or dispute occurred. There wasn’t time.
Before Lisa could walk 30 feet to the steps leading up from the sidewalk to the house, less than 10 seconds, Shannon Kepler pulled his revolver and pointed it at Jeremy. Michael, still on the porch, witnessed this interaction, and heard a woman’s voice shout “Shoot him!” Then, Shannon Kepler, with 24 years on the force, most recently at the Police Academy, aimed his weapon at Jeremy Lake who was standing unarmed, at point-blank range, ten feet away, fired his .45-caliber revolver hitting Jeremy three times. At only 19 years old, Jeremy Lake fell to the street and died quickly, executed by Shannon Kepler.
As Jeremy was being killed by her father just twenty feet from her, Lisa screamed in sheer terror and ran up the steps, trying to hide behind a sparse lilac bush. Shannon Kepler, a well-trained officer in the use of firearms, fired twice more in her direction, missing her, but a ricochet off the house slightly injured young Michael who was still on the porch.
That Shannon Kepler executed Jeremy Lake with clear intention beforehand to kill him, there is no doubt. No question. He planned the evil deed. He carried a revolver so as not to leave shell casings at the scene of his crime. He wore a disguise. Kepler even attempted to kill his own troublesome daughter Lisa, the one witness who could identify him. Unfortunately, though for Shannon Kepler, Lisa screamed out that her dad had killed Jeremy, so all within earshot knew who was the killer.
Then, Shannon Kepler, the “fine and exemplary” police officer with 24 unblemished years on the police force, fled the scene of the execution at a high rate of speed in Gina’s black Suburban. Neighbors hearing the shots peeked out to investigate, some of them witnessing the black Suburban speed away.
Everyone rushed to aid Jeremy to no avail. The police and EMT’s arrived, and the search for Shannon Kepler began. He was in hiding, evading arrest, and neither he nor Gina were reachable by phone. And, they weren’t at home which had been staked out by the police.
A Long Torturous Search for Justice
There have been too many delays in finding justice for Jeremy Lake. Shannon Kepler remains free. Three trials have ended in a mistrial due to hung juries. A fourth trail, and probably the last one regardless of the outcome, will begin on Monday, October 9th. It is EXTREMELY rare for three mistrials in a criminal case. Justice, so far, has been denied.
In summary, there is sufficient reason to question the devotion of District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler to finding justice for Jeremy Lake.
- The testimony of Shannon Kepler to describe his murder of Jeremy Lake was evolved substantially from trial-to-trial without mention, question or objection by the DA for the enormous variations in his testimony. In trail #1 Kepler said he thought Jeremy reached for a gun in his rear waistband, in #2 he said he saw a gun in Jeremy’s hand, in #3 the gun was pointed at him and Jeremy was advancing toward him. It is apparent and obvious that this evolution in testimony by Kepler should be questioned by the DA and revealed to the jury, never mind that in a hearing in May 2016, prior to the first trial, Kepler’s attorney declined to claim self-defense. The only one with the gun was Shannon Kepler. It is ludicrous to believe that an experienced officer would fill to secure the scene of a crime, especially if there was a claim of self-defense. No objection, Mr. DA?
- During the shooting by Kepler, he fired two shots at his daughter Lisa while she was running away. Incredibly, the DA allowed Kepler to plea to reckless handling of a firearm for that crime, a misdemeanor. It is impossible to believe that a highly trained police officer would be so unskilled after 24 years on the force. Why not shooting with intent to kill?
- In the DA’s closing argument of the second trial, Steven Kunzweiler began with a 5-minute tribute of the defendant, Shannon Kepler, praising his 24 years of service. Truly, it sounded like the DA was reading from the closing argument of the defense. These are the words of the prosecution – spoke to the jury – just prior to deliberations? You have to wonder, where is his heart?
- Following his murder of Jeremy Lake, Shannon Kepler fled the scene of the crime. Why did he run? Before turning himself in about four hours after the murder, accompanied by his lawyer, Kepler and his wife Gina were in panic mode figuring out what to do. They hid their Suburban at a Motel 6 in Broken Arrow, where it was found by the police a few days later. Kinda was initially charged with accessory to murder but charges were soon dropped by the DA claiming “there was not enough evidence.” Was Gina there at the time of the crime? The DA accepts the Kepler’s story and Gina’s alibi placing her in Owasso. However, the alibi appears very flimsy (and in contradiction to sworn testimony) for a number of reasons, first of which was Shannon Kepler driving Gina’s car and the testimony from Michael saying he heard a woman’s voice shout “Shoot him!” Gina and Shannon were together following the crime. They avoided contact when called by their fellow officers who were trying to apprehend them, they concealed evidence, and they consulted a lawyer.
- Jeremy Lake is not personalized by the DA to better reveal to the jury his nature of being a peacemaker, someone who is kind and compassionate to others, or that he was scheduled to being welding school the following week. No family members have been called to testify on behalf of Jeremy, no testimony from friends or others who knew Jeremy from the Day Center. Jeremy is left as a featureless and unsympathetic blank image, allowing the defense tarnish to stain him without challenge to the jury. Jeremy Lake had a life of opportunities ahead of him and was on a good track despite his long odds. He deserves a tribute such as the DA gave Kepler in the second trial.
Clearly, it is a horrible tragedy that an innocent, unarmed young man – just a kid, without provocation, was shot and killed by an experienced Tulsa police officer who, though he was off-duty at the time, used Tulsa City police resources to identify, and then stalk and kill his prey. Shannon Kepler is a coward, and he considered Jeremy Lake’s life to be without value.
A second tragedy is that the justice system in Tulsa will not give us, the citizens of Tulsa, the assurance of justice. The evidence is clear, abundant and substantial. Jeremy Lake deserves justice. We ALL want justice, but cases like this cause much doubt in the public mind in our expectation for justice in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The DA has three strikes; he’s out! A prosecutor with a commitment to justice is required.
Where is Justice for Jeremy Lake? Who is standing up for Jeremy?
“I sincerely hope you will consider publishing this appeal for justice for Jeremy Lake, or, if not, in an appeal of your own. Many people know little or nothing about these materials in the Kepler case, unaware that this Tulsa police officer is about to get away with the execution of Jeremy Lake. It is critical to get the word out before this vile man is released from further prosecution. The fourth trial begins October 9th.”
“I have attended much of the three trials and discovered other facts from news reports. My opinion of the involvement and participation of Gina Kepler is included, as I believe that she is also guilty to some degree in the murder of Jeremy Lake. Daughter Lisa’s statement to the press affirms that Gina Kepler was there in the car at the time of the murder. Other testimonies support that statement; nevertheless, the DA drop the charges against Gina Kepler. In the previous three trials, the DA has never questioned daughter Lisa if her mother was in the Suburban. Gina Kepler is not currently charged with any crime and is not on trial; she should be; anyone else would be. Her status as a cop, also with 24 years with TPD, evidently allows her a pass.”
1. The public needs to know about this.
2. The press can inform and lead the community in an appeal, and demand for justice.
3. There is reason for an outrage.
I will remain anonymous, but all testimonies and events described are confirmed in court transcripts and various news sources which are available to the public.
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