Jury selection underway for man accused in Tecumseh police officer’s death

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POTTAWATOMIE COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – Jury selection is now underway for an Oklahoma man facing the death penalty in connection with the death of a Tecumseh police officer.

Around 11:30 p.m on March 26, 2017, Tecumseh Officer Justin 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 36-year-old 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.

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. 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

Shepard was charged with first-degree murder, knowingly concealing stolen property and possession of a controlled dangerous substance.

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

More than two years after the shooting, the case against Shepard is now moving forward.

Officials say the district attorney has recused himself from the case, so prosecutors from Cleveland County have been assigned to the case.

Jury selection is expected to continue all week with opening statements slated to begin next week.

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

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