Defense expected to call convicted killer’s family to the stand during sentencing

POTTAWATOMIE COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – A man convicted of murdering an Oklahoma police officer will soon learn his fate.

Earlier this week, a jury found Byron Shepard guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Justin Terney, a Tecumseh police officer. He was also convicted of as concealing stolen property, and possession of a controlled dangerous substance.

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Around 11:30 p.m on March 26, 2017,  Terney pulled over a vehicle near Benson Park and Gordon Cooper.

“You got your driver’s license and registration ready?” dash cam video showed Officer Justin Terney asking Brooklyn Williams during the traffic stop.

Williams gave Officer Terney her real name, but Byron Shepard lied from the very beginning, telling Officer Terney his name was James Bishop. At the time, Shepard was wanted for stealing a pickup and equipment from an oil drilling company.

Dispatch, of course, couldn’t find Shepard’s false identity, and Shepard proceeded to make small talk with the 22-year-old officer.

Officer Terney told Shepard he needed to be honest and give him some identification, but Shepard ended up running into a wooded area.

You can hear Officer Terney screaming, “You’re going to get tased! Stop!”

Then-District Attorney Richard Smothermon said Officer Terney tased Shepard as they cleared a fence.

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In the video, you can hear Officer Terney say, “Central, I’ve been hit.”

“We believe Officer Terney returned fire after he was hit,” Smothermon said. Terney was shot twice, and Shepard was shot at least three times.

They were both rushed to nearby hospitals, but Terney died from his injuries. He had been on the police force for less than a year.

Officer Justin Terney

Prosecutors say they are seeking the death penalty in the case since Shepard met five of eight aggravating circumstances that warrant a death sentence.

On Wednesday, two psychologists testified that Shepard has cognitive or behavioral issues due to childhood trauma and early drug use. However, prosecutors are challenging those assertions.

Defense attorneys plan to call Shepard's family to the stand to testify on his behalf, which should happen on Thursday.

Byron Shepard was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Tecumseh Police Officer Justin Terney

Brooklyn Williams was sentenced to 25 years in prison for her role in the case.


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