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Man Accused of Murdering Two Young Girls in Court
The grandfather who found his granddaughter and her best friend shot to
death was the first witness in the hearing to determine if the man prosecutors
say is guilty of the violent murders will stand trial.
Kevin Sweat is facing the death penalty for the murders of Taylor Placker
and Skyla Whitacker. Prosecutors want a judge to order him to stand trial
for the girl's 2008 deaths near the small community of Weleetka.
Deputies escorted Sweat into court quickly Monday morning. He is
being held in the Seminole County jail while his case is pending. Sweat
was not wearing a bulletproof vest that deputies had placed him in during his
previous court appearances.
Peter Placker testified that he raised his granddaughter, Taylor, as his
own daughter and she thought of her own mother as her sister. He
described how it was common for Taylor to take walks along the rural road
outside their home. Placker described the Sunday afternoon Taylor and her
friend Skyla went for a walk to "Bad Creek Bridge." The girls
never returned from that trip. Placker found them in a ditch halfway to
Prosecutors called the crime scene investigator from the Oklahoma State
Bureau of Investigation who detailed how the girls were found and the types of
wounds he observed on their bodies. The agent said both girls had wounds
consistent with different calibers of projectiles.
Next on the stand was the records custodian for Glock, Inc., a firearms
manufacturer. The testimony focused on when a Glock Model 22, .40 caliber
was imported into the United States and eventually sold to the Baltimore Police
Department. That gun is the same on the OSBI says was the murder weapon
used in the Weleeka killings.
The Glock 22 was eventually returned to the company where it was refurbished
and sent to a firearms distributor.
Prosecutors called a former Baltimore Police Officer who testified to
having collected test-fired shell casings from the Glock Model 22, .40
caliber. The officer testified they kept casings on all firearms in
evidence envelopes. Oklahoma investigators later obtained those records
to use in the case against Sweat.
From there the gun’s ownership became a little more difficult to
track. Jerry Bryan, owner of Jerry’s Guns Unlimited in Okemah says he
purchased the Glock from a distributor, but sold it a day after it came into
Paperwork shows it went to a then county deputy named Smokey Patchin.
Patchin bought the gun to use in a competition, but sold it to another deputy
and James Kennedy. Kennedy says he used the gun as his duty weapon during
the year he worked as a Weleeka police officer. Kennedy said he never
fired the gun and sold it to a fellow Weleetka officer named John Woods.
Woods would later serve as a sheriff’s deputy in the neighboring
county. He says he never fired the gun and when he needed money he sold
it. On the stand Woods testified he met Kevin Sweat at the McDonald’s
restaurant where Sweat worked. Woods told the court he didn’t remember
Sweat’s name when he was first questioned about the gun years later. He
told investigators he saw Sweat again working at the local Subway restaurant
and recognized him as the man who purchased his Glock.
Terrance Higgs was the state’s expert witness in firearms
identification. He testified that the shell casings found at the Weleetka
crime scene were a match to ones found on the property of Sweat’s father.
It’s an area investigators say Sweat would go to shoot his guns. Higgs
said another match came when they received the test-fire casing from the
Baltimore Police Department. Higgs said some matches are difficult to
make, but not this one. "We were joking saying Stevie Wonder could
match these because they matched so well," Higgs testified.
The final witnesses were Sweat’s relatives. Sweat’s father Curtis was
a key witness during his preliminary hearing involving the death of Kevin’s
fiancée, Ashley Taylor. This time Sweat’s memory did not match what
prosecutors say he told the OSBI investigators. Prosecutors asked if he
recalled telling the OSBI if he remembered removing a Glock gun case from the
Kevin’s car after a traffic stop in 2009. Curtis said he did not remember
ever seeing a Glock case.
Kevin’s mother had a similar problem recalling what prosecutors say she
told the OSBI. Deborah Sweat was living with her cousin James McClellan
and says she didn’t remember Kevin ever referring to Ashley as his
fiancée. Deborah testified she did remember them having problems.
Prosecutors asked if she remembered Kevin telling her Ashley threatened to tell
police he was responsible for the Weleetka murders if he broke up with
her. Deborah said she never remembered saying that or hearing Kevin say
that. McClellan’s testimony was similar. Both agreed Kevin
mentioned Ashley threatened to tell lies about him, but never anything
The final witness will be OSBI Agent Kurt Titsworth. Prosecutors plan
to call him first thing Tuesday morning. Fox 25 will be there and provide
updates as the case continues.
Posted: Tuesday, January 29 2013, 09:57 AM CST
IN OKLAHOMA NEWS
Motorists urged to avoid I-35 in Moore
May 23, 2013 13:43 GMT
MOORE, Okla. (AP) -- Oklahoma transportation officials say heavy traffic on Interstate 35 through Moore is hindering the tornado recovery effort.
The Transportation Department on Thursday asked motorists to avoid the area. The I-35 off-ramps in Moore are still restricted. The only people allowed to travel into Moore are residents and emergency responders.
Also, Oklahoma City police say Western Avenue between SW 164th and SW 134th is closed to all traffic. The closure will continue until utility crews finish installing new power lines.
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