Tulsa judge declares mistrial for ex-cop accused of murder

FILE - This undated file booking photo provided by the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office shows Shannon Kepler. Kepler, a Tulsa police officer, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the off-duty shooting death of his daughter's boyfriend. (AP Photo/Tulsa County Sheriff's Office, File)
FILE - This undated file booking photo provided by the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office shows Shannon Kepler. Kepler, a Tulsa police officer, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the off-duty shooting death of his daughter's boyfriend. (AP Photo/Tulsa County Sheriff's Office, File)

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A judge declared a mistrial early Friday after jurors couldn’t agree in the case of a former Tulsa police officer accused in the fatal shooting of his daughter’s boyfriend.

Shannon Kepler retired from the force after he was charged with first-degree murder in the 2014 killing of 19-year-old Jeremey Lake. Keplar has said he acted in self-defense.

The jury, which must unanimously agree for a conviction, was deadlocked for several hours at 11-1 in favor of a guilty verdict before telling Tulsa County District Judge Sharon Holmes that additional deliberation would not break the impasse.

Authorities also accused Keplar of shooting at his daughter, Lisa Kepler, and Lake’s younger brother. The jury convicted Kepler of two misdemeanor counts of reckless conduct with a firearm in relation to those shootings and recommended the maximum 6-month sentence on each count.

The Tulsa World reports (http://bit.ly/2fqbSbp ) that Kepler will remain in custody without bond until Monday, when he will be sentenced on the misdemeanor charges and a new date will be set for the murder trial.

District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said he was happy the jury agreed that Kepler handled his firearm recklessly.

“I’m at least gratified we got a part of this chapter completed. I’m still going to be pursuing justice for Jeremey,” Kunzweiler said.

Kepler’s attorney, Richard O’Carroll, said he didn’t believe his client received a fair trial.

“I’ve worked as hard as I know how to get him a fair trial, and this was so far from a fair trial,” O’Carroll said.

O’Carroll has tried to link a gun found in a trash can inside police headquarters to the gun Kepler claims to have seen Lake holding. Kunzweiler said there was no evidence the gun, found about 48 hours after the shooting, was connected to the case, and Holmes ruled that it couldn’t be mentioned at trial.

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