Jury hears testimony of suspect's dead brother in Sweeney case
BY BILL BRAUN World Staff Writer
Thursday, September 20, 2012
9/20/12 at 8:33 AM
Tulsa County jurors heard testimony Wednesday from a dead brother of Fred Shields Jr. that Shields recruited the man who fatally shot Tulsa businessman Neal Sweeney.
Fred Shields "just said he found somebody who was going to do it" and referred to that person as a "crash dummy," the now-deceased Allen Shields testified at a preliminary hearing in October 2010.
Tulsa County District Judge Tom Gillert ruled that this testimony of Allen Shields, preserved on transcript, could be admitted as evidence.
The transcript was read to jurors Wednesday.
Fred Shields told his brother to tell Mohammed Aziz that it would cost $10,000, according to the transcribed testimony.
In April 2011, Allen Shields died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a seven-hour standoff with police.
An 11-year-old girl who had been held hostage was released unharmed before Shields, 34, shot himself, police reported in 2011.
Fred Shields, 38, is on trial on counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, linked to the killing of Sweeney, 63.
Sweeney, president of Retail Fuels Marketing, 3158 S. 108th East Ave., was shot once in the head at his business on the morning of Sept. 4, 2008.
He died the following day.
Allen Shields pleaded guilty to a conspiracy count in the case and testified for the prosecution after being offered a plea deal calling for a 10-year probation.
Aziz, who operated two convenience stores in Tulsa and one in Collinsville, has indicated that he paid a total of $11,100 in connection with the murder-for-hire plot.
Retail Fuels Marketing had stopped regular delivery of fuel to Aziz's stores because he was not making the required payments, and the resulting lack of gasoline had created major financial problems for him, according to prosecutors.
At the 2010 hearing, Allen Shields said Aziz initially wanted him to find someone to beat up a person that Aziz called "the gas man."
Aziz later changed the request and said he wanted someone to kill Sweeney, Allen Shields testified then.
He said he told his brother Fred Shields, who said he would "check into it," according to the transcribed testimony.
His brother later told him that Sweeney lived in a nice neighborhood and "it was not going to go down out there," Allen Shields said at the 2010 hearing.
Allen Shields also indicated that he gave his brother $5,000.
The murder charge against Fred Shields asserts that he recruited Terrico Bethel as the triggerman.
Both men were in the Osage County Jail in August 2008, and Fred Shields arranged to post bond for Bethel, prosecutors have said.
Aziz testified as a prosecution witness Wednesday and blamed Sweeney for his financial problems.
In a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to dismiss murder and conspiracy counts against Aziz, 59.
He pleaded guilty in January to soliciting murder and has not yet been sentenced for his role in the conspiracy.
From the witness stand, Aziz indicated that he didn't care about any pain suffered by the Sweeney family.
In response to a prosecutor's questions, Aziz said he had help in killing Sweeney.
Bethel was sentenced last month to a no-parole life prison term plus 10 years in prison after he was convicted of murder and conspiracy.
Another defendant in the case, Alonzo "Jack" Johnson, faces a Dec. 3 trial on murder and conspiracy counts.
Original Print Headline: Jury hears testimony of suspect's dead brother
Bill Braun 918-581-8455
Fred Shields Jr.: His brother testified in 2010 that Fred Shields recruited the man who fatally shot a Tulsa businessman
Mohammed Aziz: The convenience store owner, who pleaded guilty in January to soliciting murder in the death of businessman Neal Sweeney, testified Wednesday that he blamed Sweeney for his financial problems and that he had help in killing Sweeney
Allen Shields: The brother of Fred Shields Jr., he pleaded guilty to a conspiracy count in the case and testified for the prosecution after being offered a plea deal calling for a 10-year probation. In April 2011, Allen Shields died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a seven-hour standoff with police