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Closing Arguments In Shannon Kepler Trial Set For Monday In Federal Court

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Oklahoma Department of Corrections
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TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Testimony concluded Friday in the murder trial, the fifth such trial, of a former Tulsa police officer charged in the fatal 2014 shooting of his daughter’s boyfriend.

Shannon Kepler, 60, who is white, was off duty when he shot Jeremey Lake, 19, who was Black. Testifying in his own defense Friday, Kepler says he fired in self-defense because he thought Lake pointed a handgun at him. Afterward, he could not find the gun he thought Lake had been brandishing, he said.

Defense attorney Stan Monroe has argued that someone removed the weapon from the scene and that it may be the gun found in a police interview room trash can days after the shooting. Police have yet to determine who placed the gun in the trash can, although the FBI has traced its last known whereabouts to a home hit by the 2013 Moore tornado.

Closing arguments are scheduled for Monday.

Kepler was charged in federal court in November in anticipation of his state manslaughter conviction being overturned by the state Court of Criminal Appeals. The appeals court ruled based on a Supreme Court ruling that Oklahoma lacks jurisdiction for crimes on tribal reservations in which the defendants or victims are tribal citizens.

Kepler is a citizen of the Muskogee (Creek) Nation and the shooting occurred on land within the tribe’s historic reservation.

Kepler was tried on state murder charges four times, with three trials ending in hung juries before he was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

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