District Judge Sharon Holmes has declared a shocking third mistrial in nine months in the case of an Oklahoma father who shot his daughter’s boyfriend in 2014.
Former Tulsa police officer Shannon Kepler doesn’t deny shooting Jeremey Lake because he feels he did so in self-defense. However, despite his claims that Lake was armed, no weapon was found on the scene where Lake was killed, according to NBC Washington.
The jury only deliberated for 2 1/2 hours before Judge Holmes asked if any of them had changed their minds. After finding that no one had altered their position, she made her controversial ruling. This jury was split 6-6 while the past two were leaning towards a guilty charge with counts of 10-2 and 11-1, respectively.
“I have never experienced that procedure before in my life,” said Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler. “I was just hopeful that the court would have followed prior procedure and have the jury deliberate more.”
Kunzweiler pointed out how it isn’t uncommon to encourage a jury to keep deliberating until they either come to a conclusion or it appears certain that they won’t. 2 1/2 hours doesn’t seem to be nearly long enough for either.
After three mistrials, the bill to these repeated trials is becoming steep. Kunzweiler now has to decide if it’s in the state’s best interest to begin another retrial.
“We spent two weeks on this,” Kunzweiler said. “I certainly recognize that people may have different interpretations on evidence. The goal of the system is not to have a hung jury.”