Kepler's lawyer planning appeal after formal sentencing
TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) - Former Tulsa police officer Shannon Kepler has his sentencing hearing set for Nov. 20 after being convicted of manslaughter in the 2014 killing of Jeremey Lake.
However, Kepler's attorney plans an appeal. Richard O’Carroll said his client lost to a persistent political effort to prevent racial unrest.
There were four trials and the first three ended in hung juries.
O’Carroll said, "There are more black African-Americans in Oklahoma per capita than any other state in the union and they're going to use this to put a band aid on it. It's a sham!"
While Lake was bi-racial, he identified as black. But the district attorney said Lake's race is listed as white on most of the legal documents.
District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said, "It's simply a prosecution for one person who killed another human being and race had nothing to do with this case."
Kunzweiler said he has compassion for Kepler's family, but he made a series bad decision that can't be changed.
"It was his choice, in all his actions, to head out to that location on the evening hours of Aug. 5 2014," said Kunzweiler. "That forever certainly changed the trajectory his life, his family’s life and certainly Mr. Lake's life."
Kunzweiler said they couldn't let a just few people on earlier juries to deny justice. But the defense says the judge had her thumb on the scale and the trials were unfair.
O’Carroll said she allowed the jury the manslaughter option but the evidence doesn’t support manslaughter.
He said, "The state's witnesses, such as they were, said that Mr. Kepler just shot a man who was trying to shake his hand. There was no opportunity for manslaughter in this case."
O’Carroll said he will have the appeal ready to file as soon as Kepler's sentence is decided.