“I could just feel a sigh of relief come over the courtroom,” Jury finds Pottawatomie Co. man guilty of killing Tecumseh police officer

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POTTAWATOMIE COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) - A man accused of killing a Tecumseh police officer in 2017 was found guilty by a Pottawatomie County jury Monday afternoon.

Byron Shepard was found guilty of the first-degree murder of 22-year-old Justin Terney, as well as concealing stolen property, and possession of a controlled dangerous substance.

The jury deliberated for less than 45 minutes before coming to that conclusion.

“I could just feel a sigh of relief come over the courtroom,” said Tecumseh Police Chief JR Kidney.

In 2017, Shepard was accused of killing Terney during a traffic stop.

At the time he pleaded not guilty.

But for a week, Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn, who stepped in after the Pottawatomie County D.A. recused himself, called several witnesses forward who were there the night Terney was killed.

On Monday, prosecutors replayed dashcam video that shows Shepard lies about who he was before running into the woods. The audio from the recording includes gunshots and Terney’s last words.

But in closing statements, the defense argued “it’s highly probable” that one of Terney’s gunshot wounds was self-inflicted, and that Shepard also shot himself.

The defense also argued Shepard did not intend to kill Terney and therefore shouldn’t be found guilty of first-degree murder.

But the state insisted they have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that even if it was only in the moments before pulling the trigger, Shepard was trying to kill the officer.

In the end, the jury agreed.

Sentencing for the trial begins Tuesday morning. The state is seeking the death sentence.

It’s the second time many close to the case have had to sit through similar testimony. In February, the driver of the car Shepard was in was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 25 years in prison for her role in Terney’s death.

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