UPDATED: 5:04 p.m. EDT, November 20 — A White former police officer was sentenced on Monday to 15 years in prison for killing the Black boyfriend of his daughter in 2014, CBS News reported. Shannon Kepler was also fined $10,000 for shooting and killing Jeremey Lake.
Kepler survived three mistrials before being convicted last month of first-degree manslaughter. It was a curious charge instead of murder, as Kepler said Lake was armed despite no gun being found and witnesses testifying that the 19-year-old was unarmed when he was shot.
The family of a Tulsa, Oklahoma Black teenager finally received justice, in a community that’s still fuming after a jury acquitted Officer Betty Jo Shelby in the fatal shooting of an unarmed Black man, Terence Crutcher.
After three failed attempts to reach a verdict, a jury convicted a White former Tulsa police officer on Wednesday of first-degree manslaughter in the 2014 off-duty fatal shooting of 19-year-old Jeremy Lake, CBS News reports.
The decision to convict Shannon Kepler, 57, came after six hours of deliberation. Jurors in the previous three trials deadlocked 11-1, 10-2 and 6-6, which forced the judge to declare mistrials.
Kepler claimed self-defense when he gunned down Lake, who was dating his homeless 18-year-old daughter.
Lake’s aunt, Pam Wilkins, who allowed the couple to stay at her home, said the ex-cop began shooting Lake when he tried to introduce himself by reaching out to shake Kepler’s hand, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The former officer had tracked down his daughter to bring her home. Kepler testified that he believed Lake was armed with a gun, but investigators found no weapon on the victim.
After the third mistrial, Wilkins said Lake’s extended family was frustrated. “But I’m not giving up hope. We’re believing in God and justice for Jeremey,” she said, according to The Times.
The composition of the jury added to the racial tension. Only one African American served on each jury, which prompted charges of racism, CBS reported.
Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 20. The jury recommended a 15-year prison sentence.