Detective says Shields changed stories, ultimately fingering Bethel to cut a deal
BY BILL BRAUN World Staff Writer
Friday, September 21, 2012
9/21/12 at 8:04 AM
Fred Shields Jr. initially lied about who shot Tulsa businessman Neal Sweeney but subsequently indicated that it was Terrico Bethel, a Tulsa police detective testified Thursday.
Detective Vic Regalado said Shields, in a 2009 interview, knew details about the shooting scene and getaway vehicle that were not released to the public. Shields blamed the killing on a man who was eliminated by police from consideration, testimony indicated.
Information subsequently provided by Shields was "pretty spot-on" regarding the murder, with Shields pointing a finger at Bethel and aware of such details as the presence of a black cage in the white van that police believe the shooter used, Regalado said.
He said he thinks Shields gave information to police in 2009 because he sought to "broker a deal" and because reward money was offered in the killing.
Shields, who faced a federal drug case in 2009, was not charged in the Sweeney case - which a prosecutor has said involved a long and complex investigation - until June 1, 2010.
Shields, 38, is on trial in Tulsa County District Court on counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Sweeney, president of Retail Fuels Marketing, 3158 S. 108th East Ave., was shot once in the head at his business on Sept. 4, 2008. Sweeney, 63, died the next day.
Mohammed 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 a murder-for-hire plot to kill Sweeney.
Retail Fuels Marketing 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, evidence indicates.
Donna Coleman, who worked for Aziz, testified this week that Aziz blamed Sweeney for his problems and said prior to the killing that he ''needed to be shot."
Aziz also had said he wanted "to put 10 rattle snakes" in Sweeney's Jeep, she said.
Dolan Prejean, a jail informant, testified that Shields said he did an "M-1" - street code for murder - with Bethel. Shields was concerned that his "homeboy" Bethel was talking, Prejean testified Thursday.
Prejean, 41, has testified at repeated court proceedings in the Sweeney case that Bethel told him he shot Sweeney in the head with a 38-caliber handgun in a "hired hit."
Prejean, who said he is a former "five-star general" with the Hoover Crips, pleaded guilty in 2009 to Tulsa County felony charges of burglary, unauthorized use of a vehicle, and false impersonation. His sentencing has been postponed repeatedly.
Prejean has numerous felony convictions for drug, burglary, larceny and assault offenses, Department of Corrections records show.
Bethel, 26, was sentenced last month to a no-parole life prison term plus 10 years in prison after being convicted of murder and conspiracy.
In a plea deal, prosecutors dismissed murder and conspiracy counts against Aziz. He pleaded guilty in January to soliciting murder and has not yet been sentenced.
Another defendant in the case, Alonzo "Jack" Johnson, faces a Dec. 3 trial on murder and conspiracy counts.
Shields' brother, Allen Shields, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy count in 2010 and testified for the prosecution after being offered a deal calling for a 10-year probation and no prison time. He fatally shot himself in 2011.
Original Print Headline: Detective says Shields gave info to cut a deal
Bill Braun 918-581-8455
Fred Shields Jr.: He initially told police that someone else - not convicted triggerman Terrico Bethel - had killed businessman Neal Sweeney
Terrico Bethel: He was convicted of being the hit man