A white former Oklahoma police officer was convicted of first-degree manslaughter in the off-duty fatal shooting of his daughter's black boyfriend after jurors in three previous trials couldn't decide whether to find him guilty of murder. Jurors deliberated about six hours Wednesday night before finding ex-Tulsa officer Shannon Kepler, 57, guilty of the lesser charge in the August 2014 killing of 19-year-old Jeremey Lake, who had just started dating Kepler's then-18-year-old daughter, reports the AP. Kepler's attorneys said the 24-year-police veteran was trying to protect Lisa Kepler because she had run away from home and was living in a crime-ridden neighborhood after her father forbade her from bringing men into the house.
Kepler told investigators Lake was armed and that he was acting in self-defense. "He's bringing it, I'm bringing it," Kepler said from the witness stand. "It was either him or me. I'm not going to stand there and get shot." However, police didn't find a weapon on Lake or at the scene. Prosecutors said Kepler first watched his daughter and Lake from his SUV before approaching them on the street. Lake's aunt disputed Kepler's self-defense account and has said her nephew was reaching out to shake Kepler's hand to introduce himself when Kepler fired. The jury recommended a sentence of 15 years in prison for Kepler, who retired from the force after he was charged. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 20. (Read more Oklahoma stories.)