Sweeney murder trial on hold
BY BILL BRAUN World Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Because of a defense lawyer’s health problems, a judge on Wednesday discharged the jury panel and halted a trial for a man who is accused of fatally shooting Tulsa businessman Neal Sweeney.
A new trial date will be set for Terrico Bethel with the earliest available date in August, according to District Judge Tom Gillert.
On Wednedsay morning, Gillert released the 37 members of the jury panel from further service in Bethel’s case.
Proceedings in the jury selection process were delayed when defense attorney Sharon Holmes experienced a medical problem Tuesday while away from the Tulsa County Courthouse during a trial recess.
Holmes was hospitalized Tuesday and remained in the hospital Wednesday morning. Gillert said he did not know what the medical problem was, and did not know when Holmes will be available to handle her trial duties.
Prosecutors allege that Bethel, 26, was the gunman who entered Sweeney’s business, Retail Fuels Marketing, 3158 S. 108th East Ave., and shot him in the head on Sept. 4, 2008. Sweeney, 63, died the next day.
Bethel is charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. He is the first defendant to go to trial in what police call a murder-for-hire case. Five people were charged in the case.
Tulsa businessman Neal Sweeney was fatally shot back in 2008. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World File