Tulsa Jail informant tells of defendant's admission to a 'hired hit'
BY BILL BRAUN World Staff Writer
Thursday, August 23, 2012
8/23/12 at 7:21 AM
A jail informant testified Wednesday that the man who is accused of fatally shooting Tulsa businessman Neal Sweeney told him the killing was a "contract hit."
Terrico Bethel said he shot Sweeney with a .38-caliber handgun, according to Dolan Prejean, who testified as a prosecution witness at Bethel's trial.
Sweeney, 63, was shot once in the head on Sept. 4, 2008, in his office at Retail Fuels Marketing, 3158 S. 108th East Ave. Sweeney, a member of the University of Tulsa Athletic Hall of Fame as a football standout, died the next day.
Bethel, 26, is on trial for first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Prejean testified that while they were both in the Tulsa Jail in 2009, Bethel told him about a "hired hit."
Prejean said he'd noticed Bethel pacing back and forth in jail and that Bethel indicated that he was concerned about an "M-1" - murder one, in street code - that he committed with Fred Shields.
Bethel indicated that he, Shields, a man known as "Jack" and "the Iranian" were involved, Prejean said.
Bethel said that on the day of the shooting, he went alone to the scene and threw the gun away afterward, Prejean testified. He said "Jack" paid him $5,000, according to Prejean.
Prejean indicated that the motive involved gasoline and that Sweeney had filed suit against "the Iranian," according to Prejean.
Sweeney was president of Retail Fuels Marketing, which sold gasoline to convenience stores. The company obtained a $238,638 default judgment in May 2008 against Mohammed Aziz, a customer who operated three convenience stores, testimony indicated.
Prosecutors allege that the "Jack" Prejean said Bethel mentioned is Alonzo "Jack" Johnson, who is charged with murder and conspiracy in the Sweeney homicide.
Another defendant, Aziz, is a former resident of Pakistan who has pleaded guilty to soliciting Sweeney's murder and awaits sentencing.
Aziz is expected to testify for the prosecution Thursday.
Fred Shields awaits a separate trial on murder and conspiracy counts.
His brother, Allen Shields, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy count and died in 2011 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Prejean, who indicated that he previously was a "five-star general" with the Hoover Crips, told a Tulsa County jury that he contacted the District Attorney's Office regarding this information because "I gave my life to God and I'm a stand-up person."
Sentencing for Prejean on various charges - not stemming from the Sweeney case - has been delayed repeatedly.
Records show that Prejean pleaded guilty in 2009 to Tulsa County felony charges of burglary, unauthorized use of a credit card and false impersonation. Prejean, who is in custody, said he has no deal with the District Attorney's Office regarding his punishment.
"I don't expect to get anything. Just the truth," he said.
Fred DeMier, one of the attorneys representing Bethel, maintained during cross-examination that Prejean sought to "curry favor with the District Attorney's Office to try and keep from going to the penitentiary for the rest of your life."
Department of Corrections records indicate that Prejean, 41, has numerous felony convictions for drug, burglary, larceny and assault offenses.
Prejean testified that after telling Tulsa police about what he said Bethel told him, Prejean told investigators that if they didn't believe him, he would wear a wire.
There was evidence Wednesday that police put a concealed recording device on Prejean and that he again talked with Bethel in the jail.
Bethel confirmed what he previously told Prejean regarding the Sweeney killing, prosecutors maintain.
Original Print Headline: Tulsa Jail informant tells of 'hired hit'
Bill Braun 918-581-8455
Terrico Bethel: He is accused of accepting money to kill businessman Neal Sweeney and shooting Sweeney to death at his business