An Oklahoma ex-cop has been convicted of killing his daughter’s boyfriend in a verdict that came after three previous attempts to put him in prison.
Shannon Kepler was off-duty in August 2014 when he shot and killed 19-year-old Jeremy Lake, the young Tulsa man who had been dating his daughter Lisa.
The 57-year-old police officer has said that he was acting in self-defense, saying at trial that he believed Lake had a gun and that “it was either him or me.”
No weapons were found on Lake or at the scene of the shooting. Lake’s aunt said that her loved one was extending his hand for a shake when he was shot.
Major verdicts and decisions of 2016
Major verdicts and decisions of 2016
The man accused of killing nine parishioners inside Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina was found guilty of all 33 counts brought against him.
Former Stanford University student Brock Turner was found guilty of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman near the college's campus. He was sentenced to six months in county jail, but was released after three months.
(Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office/Handout)
Rolling Stone magazine, its publisher, and one of its reporters were found liable of defaming a University of Virginia administrator. The trial was centered around a retracted story the magazine published regarding the alleged gang rape of a University of Virginia student by members of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.
(Photo by Jay Paul/Getty Images)
Hulk Hogan v. Gawker
A jury awarded the former professional wrestler $140 million in a privacy lawsuit against Gawker. Hogan testified during the trial that he was no longer "the same person I was before" following personal setbacks and the humiliation suffered when the online news outlet posted a video of him having sex with a friend's wife.
(REUTERS/Tampa Bay Times/John Pendygraft/Pool)
The FBI recommended that no criminal charges be brought against Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her personal email system. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch accepted that recommendation.
(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Justin Ross Harris
The Georgia man accused of intentionally leaving his 22-month-old son strapped inside a hot car to die because he wanted to live a child-free life was found guilty of murder.
(REUTERS/Kelly Huff/Pool/File Photo)
Former Nazi SS officer Reinhold Hanning was convicted of 170,000 counts of accessory to murder. Hanning was sentenced to five years' imprisonment over his role at the Auschwitz camp.
The jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision in the trial of former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager and the judge declared a mistrial. Slager is accused of shooting and killing unarmed black motorist, Walter Scott.
(REUTERS/Grace Beahm/Post and Courier/Pool)
A jury awarded sportscaster Erin Andrews $55 million after she took legal action against the operator of the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University for invasion of privacy after another guest at the hotel took video of her through her hotel room door peep hole.
(Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images)
A fresh inquest into the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 soccer supporters were crushed to death reached a verdict of unlawful killing.
(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Oregon wildlife refuge occupiers
The leaders of an armed group who took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon to protest the federal government's role in governing wild lands were acquitted. Brothers, Ammon (center top) and Ryan Bundy (top left) will still stand trial for a seperate armed standoff in Nevada.
(Multnomah County Sheriff's Office/Handout via Reuters/File Photo)
Pennsylvania's former Attorney General Kathleen Kane was found guilty of all charges in her perjury trial. She was accused of leaking secret grand jury information to a newspaper and lying to cover it up. Kane was sentenced to between 10 and 23 months in prison.
Officers in Freddie Gray case
Three officers were acquitted and the charges against the remaining three were dropped. Freddie Gray suffered a critical neck injury in the back of a police van. The case fueled new anger over police treatment of minorities.
(REUTERS/Baltimore Police Department/Handout)
The 'Grim Sleeper''
Lonnie David Franklin Jr. was convicted of 10 counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder for the "Grim Sleeper'' killings. Prosecutors say he killed nine women and a teenage girl over more than two decades in the Los Angeles area. He was sentenced to death in August.
(REUTERS/Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/Pool)
Vanderbilt rape case
A Tennessee jury found former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Vandenburg (center) guilty on all counts in connection with the rape of an unconscious female student inside his college dorm room. His teammate, Corey Batey (right) was also found guilty of aggravated rape in the same case. Both men were originally convicted in 2015, but their verdicts were thrown out because a juror hadn't disclosed that he was the victim of sexual assault in the past.
(REUTERS/Metropolitan Nashville Police Department/Handout via Reuters)
The jury was unable to reach a verdict for Ray Tensing and an Ohio judge declared a mistrial. The former University of Cincinnati police officer is accused of the shooting death of Samuel Dubose during a routine traffic stop.
(Photo by Mark Lyons/Getty Images)
William 'Bill' Baroni, former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and Bridget Anne Kelly, former deputy chief of staff for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie were found guilty on all counts in connection with the George Washington Bridge scandal. They were accused of intentionally causing a traffic gridlock in Fort Lee during morning rush hour for a week in September 2013.
(Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
A jury awarded the former Penn State assistant coach $7.3 million in a whistleblower lawsuit and the judge added $5 million to that verdict. The jury found that Penn State defamed McQueary.
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Johnson & Johnson
A $70 million verdict was reached in a baby powder lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson. A woman alleged the company's baby powder caused her ovarian cancer.
(REUTERS/Mike Segar/Illustration/File Photo)
The jury convicted the former New York City Police officer of manslaughter in the shooting death of an unarmed man in the stairwell of a Brooklyn housing project. The judge reduced his conviction to criminally negligent homicide and Liang didn't face any jail time.
(REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File photo)
Former police sergeant Drew Peterson was convicted for a murder for hire plot. He was found guilty of trying to hire someone to kill the prosecutor who helped convict him in the killing of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. He was sentenced to 40 additional years.
(REUTERS/Will County Sheriff's Office/Handout)
The NBA athlete and two other men were found not liable in a sexual assault case.
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Discover More Like This
BACK TO SLIDE
Three previous trials over the past year failed to reach verdicts on murder charges, with frustration over the resulting mistrials leading to criticism that the juries had a low number of black members.
Lake was biracial but identified as black, and Kepler is white with partial Muscogee Nation heritage, according to the Tulsa World.
Kepler was convicted of manslaughter late Wednesday night after a judge repeated the decision from a previous trial allowing the jury to consider the less serious charge instead of murder.
The jury recommended that he serve 15 years in prison, though sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 20.
Kepler’s attorney said during the trial that Lisa Kepler had run away from home after her father had prohibited her from bringing men to their house.
(Shannon Kepler via Tulsa County Inmate Information Center)
But prosecutors alleged that the officer wasn’t looking for his daughter when he showed up at Lake’s home, instead planning to “hunt” the girl’s beau.
The defense for Kepler rejected the idea that race had anything to do with the killing.
The shooting took place four days before the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old whose shooting by an officer in the St. Louis suburbs accelerated a national movement against police brutality towards black people.
Kepler retired from the police department after he was charged.