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Mistrial declared in Shannon Kepler murder case; DA plans to refile

Shannon Kepler was booked into the Tulsa County Jail Nov. 10, 2016 after being convicted of two firearm charges. The jury could not reach a unanimous decision on his murder charge. (Tulsa County Jail)

After more than nine hours of deliberations, a jury could not reach a unanimous decision and a mistrial was declared in the murder trial of former Tulsa police officer Shannon Kepler.

Kepler was charged with first-degree murder and two counts of shooting with intent to kill in connection with the 2014 death of his daughter's boyfriend, 19-year-old Jeremey Lake. According to jurors, they were deadlocked 11-1 on the murder count.

A judge ordered the jury back to deliberations but a decision could not be reached.

"There was some disagreement back there and we will learn what that issue was and try to address that at the next trial," District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said.

The jury did find Kepler guilty of two misdemeanor counts of reckless conduct with a firearm. They recommended a sentence of six months and a $500 fine for each.

Kunzweiler says he was happy the jury was able to convict Kepler on the two charges, but he says he isn't giving up on the murder charge.

"We may have had a rogue juror, we will find that out later," Kunzweiler said.

But defense attorney Richard O'Carroll says it was an unfair trial, period. The defense says a crucial piece of evidence wasn't allowed in the trial.

"She was letting the state say there was no evidence of this fully knowing that there was evidence of a gun on the decedent," O'Carroll said.

Kepler testified he shot Lake in self-defense because he saw a gun during their confrontation, but police never found a weapon at the scene.

In a motion filed by the DA Oct. 26, Kunzweiler explains that a gun was actually found in a trash can in an interview room at TPD after Kepler's daughter, Lisa Kepler, spoke with officers on the night of the shooting.

Kunzweiler says the gun had no correlation to the case and asked the judge to rule that its discovery was inadmissible. The judge agreed.

"Yet the police officers thought it was significant enough they went out and asked material witnesses if they had taken a weapon from the scene," O'Carroll said.

Following Kepler's conviction on the two firearm charges, he was booked into the Tulsa County Jail without bond.

Sentencing and discussion of a new trial date is scheduled for Nov. 14.

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