The former police officer who had his conviction overturned back in March of 2021 was sentenced Friday to 25 years in prison for a 2014 murder of his daughter’s Black boyfriend.
Shannon Kepler, who is white, was originally convicted of first degree manslaughter for the killing of his daughter’s boyfriend, 19-year-old Jeremey Lake in 2014.
There were three mistrials before Kepler was finally convicted of manslaughter in 2017 and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Kepler’s conviction was overturned citing the U.S. Supreme Court McGirt ruling, but prosecutors had preemptively filed a first-degree murder charge in anticipation of his release with the McGirt ruling.
On Thursday the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals overturned the manslaughter conviction of a former Tulsa police officer based on the Supreme Court ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma issued last summer that states that much of eastern Oklahoma is an American Indian reservation and the state lacks jurisdiction.
The former officer, Shannon Kepler, was sentenced in 2017 to 15 years in prison in his fourth trial after the first three ended in mistrials due to hung juries. Kepler was convicted of manslaughter in the first degree in the shooting death of 19-year-old Jeremey Lake.
In August of 2014 an off-duty Kepler drove to the house of Lake with a loaded revolver dressed in a black jacket and black stocking cap to avoid detection. Using police resources Kepler was able to pull up state records of Lake, including his home address, which is a violation of TPD policies. He was also off-duty at the time.
Kepler finally sentenced after several attempts at justice
Kepler was upset that his white 18-year-old daughter, who he had kicked out of his house, was in a relationship with a black Jeremy Lake. On the day of his murder, Lake and Kepler’s daughter had posted on Facebook that they were in a relationship.
For three years Kepler remained free while trial after trial ended in hung juries. It’s extremely rare for three mistrials in a criminal case.
In November of 2020 federal prosecutors filed a first-degree murder charge against Kepler in anticipation after he appealed his conviction citing McGirt.
“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 Jermey Lake,” said U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson. “We did so in November to ensure a seamless and timely transition from state to federal court once the decision was made.”