OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has overturned the manslaughter conviction of a former Oklahoma police officer based on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that much of eastern Oklahoma remains an American Indian reservation.
The court on Thursday granted the appeal of 60-year-old Shannon Kepler.
He's a former police officer and member of the Creek Nation who was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the 2014 killing of his daughter's boyfriend in Tulsa on land within the historic reservation of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
Kepler, who's white, was convicted in 2017 after three trials ended with deadlocked juries of fatally shooting Jeremy Lake, 19, who was Black, according to The Associated Press.
The AP reported that Kepler, who was off duty when the shooting occurred, initially claimed he shot in self-defense because Lake was armed, but police found no such weapon at the scene.
The U.S. Supreme Court last year ruled that Oklahoma lacks jurisdiction for crimes on tribal reservations in which the defendants or victims are tribal citizens.