Kevin Sweat, charged with slaying two Weleetka girls, bound over for trial in death of girlfriend
BY JERRY WOFFORD World Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
5/23/12 at 10:10 AM
Correction: A Wednesday Tulsa World photo caption incorrectly referred to Max Cook as a defense attorney. He is the district attorney for Creek and Okfuskee counties. This story has been corrected.
See complete coverage of the Weleetka case.
OKEMAH - A man charged in the slayings of two girls in Weleetka was bound over for trial on Tuesday on another charge of first-degree murder in the death of his girlfriend.
Kevin Sweat is charged in the death of Ashley Taylor, 23. District Judge David Martin judge ordered him to stand trial following a preliminary hearing in Okfuskee County on Tuesday.
Sweat, 26, was charged Aug. 12 with first-degree murder in the death of Taylor. He was charged four months later with the deaths of two girls found along a rural road near Weleetka in 2008, Taylor Paschal-Placker, 13, and Skyla Whitaker, 11.
Ashley Taylor's mother testified Tuesday that her family confronted Sweat when he returned from eloping without her.
"I was screaming and hollering, 'You better not have done anything to my daughter,' " said Patricia Taylor, the mother of Ashley Taylor, who disappeared last summer.
Taylor testified Tuesday along with Curtis Patrick Sweat, Kevin Sweat's father; Delinda Morrison, Kevin Sweat's aunt; Okmulgee Police Officer Lyndon Spears; and Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Special Agents David Real and Kurt Titsworth.
Patricia Taylor testified that her daughter and Kevin Sweat dated for four years and were engaged for about two of those years. She said Kevin Sweat had always been kind and loving to her daughter.
"He was always hugging on her and calling her sweetie," Patricia Taylor said. "I would think he was really in love with her, not just acting."
The last time Patricia Taylor saw her daughter was on July 15, she testified. She and Sweat were to leave to get married in Louisiana and be back July 29.
Patricia Taylor said she was concerned when her daughter didn't call after the wedding and more concerned when she didn't call for her brother's birthday.
"I started getting a strange feeling about then," Patricia Taylor said.
Kevin Sweat returned in late July without Ashley Taylor, and her family then filed a missing persons report with the Okmulgee Police Department, Patricia Taylor said.
Spears testified that he made the initial missing persons report and spoke with the Taylor family. He said he made contact with Kevin Sweat, who told him that while they were en route to Louisiana, they got in a fight just outside of Okmulgee and that Ashley Taylor got out of the vehicle. Kevin Sweat told Spears that was the last time he saw her.
Spears said he spoke with Kevin Sweat the next day to get more information. Kevin Sweat gave officers permission to search his car and apartment, he said.
In the car, officers found a wallet with Ashley Taylor's identification cards. They also found an large axe in the trunk.
Titsworth said he spoke extensively to Kevin Sweat, including a long interview on Aug. 3. When Titsworth and Real pressed Sweat for further clarification on his story, he changed it four times, Titsworth said. Toward the end of the interview, Kevin Sweat told investigators that the argument between him and Ashley Taylor continued to Nichols Park, where the altercation became physical.
Kevin Sweat told the agents that she said she was going to kill herself and that Kevin Sweat threw a pocket knife at her, Real said. She then began to cut herself and fell onto the pier, Real said.
Kevin Sweat then told investigators he killed Ashley Taylor and pushed her into the lake, Real said. He then went to his father's property near Weleetka and burned items such as manuscripts and photos, Real said.
Titsworth said authorities did not find any evidence at the park that a crime had occurred and did not find her body when they searched the lake.
Titsworth said he went to the property in Weleetka and discovered in a burn pile eyeglass frames and lenses consistent with Ashley Taylor's prescription and style, small fragments of clothing and "severely fragmented pieces of bone."
The medical examiner's office determined the bones were human and were likely female, but they could not positively confirm the remains were Ashley Taylor's, Titsworth said.
Curtis Sweat said he did not know his son was engaged to Ashley Taylor and didn't speak to his son about her very often.
He said that on July 17, he found the remains of a fire on his property near Weleetka, and a cup with Kevin Sweat's initials in it. He said he called his son to "chew him out for starting a fire because there was a burn ban." He said Kevin Sweat told him he had been burning trash in his car.
He said Kevin Sweat did not mention Ashley Taylor during the conversation.
Curtis Sweat later found a small ring with a diamond in the ashes, he said.
"I confronted Kevin about it, and he said it must have been in some of the stuff he burned" from his car, Curtis Sweat said.
Titsworth said he received the ring from Curtis Sweat, but her family was unable to confirm the ring was Ashley Taylor's because of damage.
Further hearings in the Ashley Taylor case have not been set.
Martin set a tentative date for a preliminary hearing related in the Weleetka girls' slayings for November.
Original Print Headline: Case details emerge
Jerry Wofford 918-581-8310
Kevin Sweat (left) is escorted by a sheriff's deputy into the Okfuskee County Courthouse in Okemah before his preliminary hearing on Tuesday. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World
Michael Taylor, father of Ashley Taylor, and his wife, Faye Taylor, walk into the Okfuskee County Courthouse in Okemah before a preliminary hearing Tuesday. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World
District Attorney Max Cook walks into the Okfuskee County Courthouse in Okemah before a preliminary hearing for slaying suspect Kevin Sweat on Tuesday. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World