Tulsa district attorney releases statement following third mistrial in murder case
TULSA, Okla. – The Tulsa County District Attorney is speaking out after the third murder trial for a former officer ended in a mistrial last week.
Shannon Kepler was on trial for the August 2014 shooting death of his daughter’s 19-year-old boyfriend, Jeremy Lake.
Prosecutors said Kepler confronted Lake, who was walking with his daughter, when they began to argue.
Kepler then fire three shots at his daughter and Lake, but says it was in self-defense.
Lake was shot and killed, but Kepler’s daughter was not injured.
Kepler faced a first-degree murder charge.
The jury deliberated for four hours before a mistrial was declared because of a hung jury.
Two previous trials in November and February resulted in mistrials also due to hung juries.
On Monday, Tulsa District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler released the following statement:
“As I previously stated following the trial of Mr. Kepler, I am disappointed in the court’s decision to declare a mistrial after only 2.5 hours of deliberation by the jury. Our system of justice is premised upon the finality of judgement. Justice for Mr. Kepler and for Jeremy Lake demands it. At this point the court has scheduled a status hearing for August 1, 2017. Prior to that setting I will explore all options available to my office regarding the continuation of the prosecution of Mr. Kepler. It is my responsibility to assess the strength of evidence, and to determine the likelihood of success in any criminal case. It is also my duty as a guardian of the public’s safety and as a steward of its resources to balance those interests in an appropriate manner. An important aspect of my evaluation will be on-going consultations with the lead investigator from the Tulsa Police Department. Finally, our law presumes any person charged with a crime to be presumed innocent of that crime until a judge or a jury determines otherwise. Me. Kepler is entitled to that presumption.”