Weleetka killing accused man gets continuance
BY JERRY WOFFORD World Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
4/24/12 at 8:10 AM
OKEMAH - A judge granted a continuance Monday at a preliminary hearing for a man who is accused of killing his girlfriend last summer and two girls near Weleetka in 2008.
The preliminary hearing for Kevin Sweat, 26, was for evidence related to the death of Ashley Taylor, 23, to be heard. Authorities believe that Sweat killed Taylor last summer.
Okfuskee County District Judge David Martin rescheduled Sweat's preliminary hearing in the Taylor case for May 22.
Martin said at Monday's hearing that prosecutors provided Sweat's defense lawyers last week with more than 1,000 pages of discovery documents. Martin said he felt "compelled by case law and a sense of fairness" to postpone the hearing to give the defense a chance to examine the evidence.
The judge apologized for the continuance to the subpoenaed witnesses who were in court Monday morning, adding that he felt "certain that is the right thing to do."
Gretchen Mosley, one of the attorneys representing Sweat, said they wanted to make sure they had all the pertinent information to represent their client adequately and fairly.
"We regret that Ashley's family has to wait longer to get the process moving, but we want to make sure we do a good job," she said. "It doesn't do anybody any good if we get information late."
Sweat, who has pleaded not guilty, appeared in court Monday, along with relatives of the victims and witnesses who had been subpoenaed to testify during the preliminary hearing.
Wearing an orange jail jumpsuit and bulletproof vest with his hands handcuffed in front of him, Sweat did not speak during the brief hearing.
Sweat was charged in August with Taylor's death and was in jail when he was charged in December with the deaths of Taylor Paschal-Placker, 13, and Skyla Whitaker, 11. The girls were found shot to death along a rural Okfuskee County road near Weleetka in June 2008.
Ashley Taylor was reported missing to the Okmulgee Police Department on July 29 by her mother. Taylor and Sweat left July 17 for Louisiana to get married, but Sweat allegedly returned without Taylor in late July, according to an affidavit filed by Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Agent Kurt Titsworth.
According to Titsworth, Sweat told agents Aug. 3 that he had cut Taylor's throat and pushed her into a lake in Henryetta. He had previously denied any knowledge of her whereabouts.
Her body was not found in the lake, but agents found human bones, female clothing and glasses with a prescription consistent with Taylor's on property belonging to Sweat's father, according to Titsworth.
After his arrest, OSBI agents linked a gun that Sweat allegedly owned at one point to the crime scene near Weleetka where the two girls were found, court documents state.
He was charged Dec. 9 with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of shooting with an intent to kill linked to the Weleetka slayings. He has pleaded not guilty.
A date has not been set for a hearing in that case.
Original Print Headline: Sweat hearing delayed
Jerry Wofford 918-581-8310
Kevin Sweat leaves the Okfuskee County Courthouse in Okemah after a court appearance Monday. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World