TULSA, Okla. — A witness in the ongoing murder trial of a white former Oklahoma police officer testified Monday that he saw someone shoot a 19-year-old black man “in cold blood.”
Jack Scheving and other neighbors testified in the fourth trial of ex-Tulsa officer Shannon Kepler, who is charged with first-degree murder in the 2014 fatal shooting of his daughter’s boyfriend, Jeremey Lake.
The Tulsa World reports that Scheving testified the shooting happened outside his house. Scheving said he didn’t get a close look at the gunman but learned from the wounded man’s girlfriend, Lisa, that the shooter was her father.
Scheving told jurors that the saw the “muzzle flash” from the firearm. Scheving’s girlfriend, Tera Shorter, testified that she heard shots and the screeching of tires that she believed came from under a bridge near the shooting site.
Kepler is accused in the slaying of Lake, who had just started dating Kepler’s daughter. Kepler doesn’t deny pulling the trigger but says he did so because he thought Lake was armed. No weapon was found on or near Lake’s body.
The fatal shooting happened four days before a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson on Aug. 9, 2014.
Brown’s killing touched off months of protests and became a catalyst for the Black Lives Matter movement, which decries police violence against minorities and calls for greater transparency from law enforcement officials, especially in cases that involve officer-involved shootings.
Jurors in Kepler’s previous three trials had deadlocked 11-1, 10-2 and 6-6, forcing the judge to declare mistrials. Although they couldn’t agree on the murder charge, jurors in the first trial convicted Kepler of recklessly using his firearm.