The veteran Oklahoma cop accused of gunning down his 18-year-old daughter’s boyfriend earlier this month pleaded not guilty Tuesday and remains suspended without pay. Shannon Kepler, 54, appeared in a Tulsa court via video feed as the plea was entered on his behalf. Authorities say the 24-year officer with the Tulsa Police Department was off duty when he fatally shot 19-year-old Jeremy Lake during a confrontation on Aug. 5. Kepler was charged with first-degree murder as well as a single count of shooting with intent to kill after allegedly firing at his daughter, Lisa.
Kepler’s attorney, Richard O’Carroll, vigorously defended his client after the arraignment, and said Kepler was only trying to protect his daughter during the incident. Police had earlier charged Kepler’s wife, Gina, also a Tulsa cop, as an accessory to murder. But the District Attorney’s office said Monday that it would not pursue the charges against Gina Kepler “at this time.” She remains suspended from the Tulsa force with pay.
Gina Kepler’s attorney said after Tuesday’s arraignment that she is “looking forward to her husband’s day in court.” Daughter Lisa previously told NBC News that she didn’t know why her father allegedly killed Lake. The couple began dating about three weeks ago, when Lisa Kepler was kicked out of her parents’ home and met Lake at a homeless shelter. Shannon Kepler remains held without bond; his preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 22.
— Dee Morales and Erik Ortiz