TULSA - Former Tulsa police officer Shannon Kepler was sentenced this week to 15 years in prison after a manslaughter conviction in the shooting death of Jeremy Lake, but like every aspect of the case, determining how long he may actually serve in prison is complicated.
For starters his attorney, Richard O’Carroll, has already said they will appeal the conviction.
There’s also the looming case of Patrick Dwayne Murphy, whose 1999 murder conviction was overturned by the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals because it occurred in “Indian country,” and Lake’s death also occurred on what is - according to that ruling - part of a Creek Nation reservation which was never officially disestablished by the federal government.
Since Kepler’s been on the roles of the Creek Nation since 1983, the pending appeal in the Murphy case could potentially land his case in federal court, obviating anything the state court did.“This was political, and it was a gesture, and it was a token gesture, and he was a pawn. And if wasn’t for the fact that he was a police officer, and he was white, and it puts so many people of color in jail, they would never have tried this case four times,” he said after the sentencing.“The anger was built up, and I was getting ready to unload on him,” Morse said, “and I thought you know what... it’s a bigger thing for me to be the bigger man and to show him or to prove to him that yes, he hurt me, no one’s going to deny that, but by me showing and being the bigger man it proved that ‘you did not win.’”