Ex policía condenado a 15 años
Former police officer sentenced to 15 years

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In this Thursday, June 29, 2017, photo, former Tulsa Police officer Shannon Kepler exits the courtroom during his trial at the Tulsa County Courthouse, in Tulsa, Okla. Kepler, who accused of fatally shooting his daughter's boyfriend in 2014, is on trial this week for the third time after jurors in the first two trials couldn't decide whether he was guilty of first-degree murder. (Cory Young/Tulsa World via AP)

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Por William R. Wynn
bill@lasemanadelsur.com

TULSA, OK – Un ex oficial de la policía de Tulsa cuyo trabajo era encerrar a los malos está hoy detrás de las rejas, sentenciado a 15 años por asesinar al novio de su hija.

La cuarta fue la vencida para la querella, cuyos tres primeros intentos de asegurar una condena para el ex oficial que matara al joven afroamericano, terminaran en fallos nulos.

No cabia la menor duda de que Shannon Kepler, un veterano de la policía de Tulsa con 24 años de servicio, asesinó a tiros a Jeremy Lake de 19 años en Agosto del 2014. Está fuera de cuestión que la hija de Kepler, Lisa, de 18 años había recientemente iniciado una relación amorosa con Lake, al que su padre detestaba.

Si bien las historias de la querella y la defensa sobre las circunstancias del crimen variaban, Kepler se presentó en la casa de la tía de Lake – donde la pareja se estaba hospedando- con su SUV, y arremetió contra el joven.

Kepler insiste que fue al lugar a proteger a su hija, ya que estaba preocupado de que la joven viviera en un vecindario inseguro, pero los fiscales aseguran que fue al lugar a confrontar a Lisa y a obligarla a cumplir con su mandato.

Kepler y su esposa había dejado a Lisa en un refugio de la ciudad una o dos semanas antes del deceso de Lake como castigo por volver tarde a casa y no cumplir con las normas del hogar. Pero tanto tiempo pasó Lisa en el refugio que terminó conociendo a Lake, el sobrino de la dueña del lugar, y se enamoraron.

La tía del fallecido aseguró que su sobrino se le había acercado a Kepler con la mano extendida para saludarlo antes de que este le disparara, sin embargo Kepler dice que el joven lo amenazó con un arma. “Era él o yo”, testificó Kepler. “No me voy a quedar acá para ver cómo me matan”.

La supuesta arma de Lake nunca se encontró, ni tampoco se encontraron testigos que apadrinaran la versión del ex policía que finalmente terminó convicto.

Si bien muchos vecinos de Tulsa se mostraron contentos de que la causa finalmente terminara con sabor a justicia, otros aseguran de que si el asesino no hubiera sido un policía y la víctima hubiera sido blanca y no negra los cargos hubieran sido más severos, y la condena hubiera sido mayor a los 15 años.

Kepler deberá además pagar una multa de $10.000, en el primer juicio fue condenado por uso irresponsable de arma de fuego. (La Semana)

English

By William R. Wynn
bill@lasemanadelsur.com

TULSA, OK — A former Tulsa police officer used to putting criminals in jail finds himself on the other side of the bars after being sentenced to 15 years for the killing of his daughter’s boyfriend.

The fourth time proved a charm for prosecutors, whose first three attempts to secure a conviction in yet another controversial shooting death of a young black male by a white police officer – albeit an off duty officer – resulted in mistrials.

There was never any doubt that Shannon Kepler, a 24-year veteran of the Tulsa Police Department, shot and killed 19-year-old Jeremy Lake in August 2014. It is also beyond dispute that Kepler’s 18-year-old daughter, Lisa, had recently begun spending time with Lake, whom her father had never met.

Where the stories of the prosecution and defense diverged was in how the tragedy unfolded when Kepler showed up in his SUV at the home of Lake’s aunt, where the young couple was staying.

Kepler insists he came to protect his daughter because he was worried because she was living in a high-crime area, but prosecutors claim he came to confront Lisa and get her to accede to his wishes.

Kepler and his wife had dropped Lisa off at a Tulsa homeless shelter a week or so earlier because she was staying out late and not abiding by their rules. It was while staying at the shelter that she met Lake, and the two quickly became a couple.

Lake’s aunt said that her nephew approached Kepler with his hand out to greet his girlfriend’s father when the fatal shooting occurred, but Kepler stated that Lake threatened him with a gun.

“It was either him or me,” Kepler testified. “I’m not going to stand there and get shot.”

The fact that no gun other than Kepler’s was ever found and no witnesses saw Lake with a gun was principal among the reasons that the fourth jury convicted the former police officer.

While many Tulsans expressed relief that the matter was finally decided, others believe that had the killer not been a police officer, and had his victim been white instead of black, Kepler might have faced charges of murder rather than manslaughter and would be looking at a lot more than 15 years in prison.

Kepler was also ordered to pay a fine of $10,000. Kepler was also convicted at his first trial of reckless use of a firearm. (La Semana)