• Kepler seeks to have trial thrown out over tribal membership

    By: Ashli Lincoln


    TULSA, Okla. - Quick facts:

    • Former Tulsa police officer Shannon Kepler is accused of shooting and killing a man.
    • He has faced three trials, and each ended in mistrial.
    • Kepler's attorneys are moving to have his charges thrown out.
    • They say he belongs to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and the incident technically happened in Creek territory.


    Legal experts say a recent motion by former Tulsa police officer Shannon Kepler is an attempt to latch onto the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to overturn a conviction for a Muscogee (Creek) man.

    On August 8, the court overturned the murder conviction of Patrick Murphy, who reportedly murdered his wife’s lover in 1999.

    The move came because the crime was committed by a Native American on Native American Territory.  

    Attorneys for Kepler, who is accused of shooting and killing his daughter’s boyfriend, are using Murphy’s case as leverage in order to have the murder charges against him thrown out.

    Court documents show Kepler is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

    Legal expert Tim Gilpin told FOX23 that Kepler’s argument is possible, because Congress never disestablished an 11-county jurisdiction established in a treaty from the 1800’s.

    The map and the motion reveal the location where Kepler shot Jeremey Lake is technically in Creek Nation territory.

    Judge Sharon Holmes now has three option to consider:

    • Dismiss the case.
    • Postpone the trail pending the outcome of the appellate court’s decision (Patrick Murphy case.
    • Continue with trial and deny Kepler’s motion.

    Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter sent FOX23 this statement saying no aspect of the federal court’s decision will go into effect until the case is fully and finally litigated.

    If the case is thrown out, it will be up to the federal court to re-try Kepler.


    Kepler has undergone three trials. Each of them ended in mistrial.


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