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Friday, June 30, 2023

The Shannon Kepler Murder Case

     Shannon Kepler and his wife Gina joined the Tulsa Police Department as patrol officers on August 13, 1990. He was  30-years-old and she was 24. In 2002, the childless couple adopted 6-year-old Lisa.

    Lisa Kepler, diagnosed with a personality disorder called reactive detachment, became a difficult child. Due to her behavioral problems the parents, over the years, spent thousands of dollars on various programs, camps and therapy. None of this treatment altered the girl's anti-social behavior. By 2014, the parents were at their wit's end. They simply had no control over their 18-year-old daughter.

     On July 30, 2014, the fed-up parents, in hopes that a dose of reality might prompt Lisa to change her ways, kicked her out of the house. They dropped her off at a homeless shelter in downtown Tulsa.

     While living at the homeless shelter Lisa met 19-year-old Jeremey Lake. Shortly thereafter Lisa moved into Lake's parents' house in north Tulsa. On August 5, 2014 Lisa and Jeremy announced their romantic relationship on Facebook.

     That Tuesday night, August 5, 2014, at nine-fifteen, Shannon Kepler pulled up in front of Jeremy Lake's house where he encountered Lisa and her boyfriend walking along the street. Following an exchange of angry words the police officer shot at Lake three times then allegedly turned his gun on his daughter and fired three more times. Lisa escaped injury but Jeremey Lake died on the spot. After the shooting Officer Kepler drove off in his SUV.

     Not long after the shooting, a Tulsa police officer spoke on the phone to Gina Kepler who said that she and her husband planned to turn themselves in. She said she'd leave the gun in the trunk of her car.

     Accompanied by an attorney, Shannon Kepler and his 48-year-old wife surrendered at police headquarters. (Mrs. Kepler had been charged with accessory to murder after the fact.) On the advice of their lawyer the couple did not agree to interrogations.

     Officers booked the Keplers into the Tulsa County Jail. The 54-year-old police officer and instructor at the Tulsa Police Academy faced charges of first-degree murder and shooting with intent to kill.

     The judge denied the suspects bond and the chief of police suspended the couple with pay. Mr. Kepler entered a plea of not guilty based on a claim of self defense.

     A few days after the arrests of her parents, Lisa Kepler spoke to a local television reporter. Regarding her dead boyfriend she said, "He was just really sweet and caring and he didn't pretend. I've known him a week. He was everything. He gave me a place to stay, food to eat and a bed to sleep in. He meant a lot to me and dad came and took him away."

     On August 22, 2014 the defendants made bail and were released from custody. They had both been fired from the Tulsa Police Department.

     The Kepler murder trial was delayed several times due to a series of procedural motions filed by the defense involving claims that the judge and the case prosecutor were biased against the defendant. The motions were denied.

     In 2015, 2016 and 2017, Shannon Kepler went on trial for murder three times, and three times the juries were deadlocked on a verdict.

     A fourth jury, on October 19, 2017, found Shannon Kepler guilty of first-degree manslaughter. On November 20, 2017, Tulsa County District Judge Sharon Holmes sentenced him to 15 years in prison. 

     In 2017, the Tulsa County prosecutor dropped the accessory after the fact charge against Gina Kepler, and in December 2019, following arbitration, she was re-instated as a Tulsa police officer.


  1. I must say that this specific writing seemed more like an attack on a young woman with confirmed mental illness, than an actual informative blog on a murder. There was great detail as to her mental illness. Emphasis on the fact that they spent money to cure her to no avail. Then the final ridiculous remark that she was upset she lost her boyfriend..... Obviously... If she wasn't... That would disturb me. No mention that she now has no family or boyfriend because her father was a control freak psycho. Who not only murdered him but fired at her and if I'm not mistaken.... May have hit his younger brother or narrowly missed him. Pieces that focus on things like this to deflect the real blame and problems are a travesty to real informative crime writing.

    1. Nowhere did the writer deflect blame. He stated the facts of the case and the fact that the daughter was anti social and out of control happens to be one of the facts in the story. It also doesn't say she had a confirmed mental illness AND there isn't anything in this piece about the parents being "control freak psycho". HE stated the facts pretty clearly. YOU added your own notions of reality. Travesty? Look for the nearest mirror.

    2. "No mention that she now has no family or boyfriend". Why would the writer have to mention that? Its as plain as the nose on your face. All the writer has done is state the facts that are known to this case. This is a wonderful true crime blog.

  2. I knew this boy and his family. I am good friends of his grandmother and I know his mother, brother, sister and aunt. They deserve justice. I just now read this story and to my knowledge, it is accurate. One thing that I do know for sure is they only knew each other 4 days. Jeremy lived only 3 doors down from the homeless shelter and volunteered there during the day and helped out. He was a good boy. He had just enrolled in a welding class and was excited about the future. His life was taken from him and his mother and siblings will never see him again. Shannon Kepler, who was employed by the City of Tulsa as a police officer and even had his issues, but he did nothing wrong. His only problem was he befriended this girl who apparently he hit it off with her at the shelter and he felt sorry for her to have to live in the shelter. I understand he has this attachment disorder and I'm sure he didn't know or understand that, but he and she both were of majority status and would and should be able to walk down the street without being shot to death by an individual who is someone who has a fiduciary duty to serve and protect the citizens of Tulsa. This girl's father was able to "retire" and draw his pension while this young man lies in his early grave. This Kepler man is walking the street as he has managed to get his attorney to delay the trial
    on October 3rd.

    1. He also never got to meet his only child.....

  3. 1) fiduciary - look it up
    2) "I've known him a week. He was everything." If this didn't involve a murder, that would be hilarious.

  4. First it was his aunts house not his parents. Second Im sorry but i feel as if you should mention that because of Kepler his son was born with no father.

  5. "Unknown" you are correct. The author of this story is trying to solicit sympathy for Kepler. He killed the man because he was black. Had race roles been reversed I doubt that the author would have solicited sympathy/understanding for Kepler.