Neal Sweeney murder case: Talks of fatal conspiracy heard on jail phone recordings, prosecutors say
BY BILL BRAUN World Staff Writer
Saturday, December 08, 2012
12/08/12 at 4:58 AM
Tulsa County jurors on Friday heard recorded telephone calls from jail - made the day before Neal Sweeney was shot - that prosecutors contend show communications in a murder conspiracy.
Phone records show that Fred Shields Jr. made a series of calls Sept. 3, 2008, from the Tulsa Jail to a woman in an effort to contact and connect Terrico Bethel and Alonzo "Jack" Johnson, First Assistant District Attorney Doug Drummond has said.
In the phone calls, Shields can be heard discussing efforts to get released from jail on bond and also giving specific directions to his then-girlfriend that Drummond says were directions to Bethel's Tulsa residence.
Sweeney, 63, the president of Retail Fuels Marketing, 3158 S. 108th East Ave., was shot once in the head at his business Sept. 4, 2008. Sweeney died the next day.
Johnson, 41, is on trial on counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. The trial resumes Tuesday in District Judge Tom Gillert's court.
Johnson is accused in a conspiracy count of stealing a van that was used by Bethel to leave the shooting scene.
Police and prosecutors say the killing was a murder for hire and the triggerman was Bethel, who has been convicted of murder and conspiracy offenses.
Evidence indicates that Bethel and Shields were inmates in the Osage County Jail at the same time in August 2008, and Drummond alleges that is when Shields recruited Bethel as a hit man.
Shields was arrested on outstanding warrants Sept. 3, 2008, and was in jail when Sweeney was shot.
Mohammed Aziz, who operated two convenience stores in Tulsa and one in Collinsville, has said that he paid $11,100 in connections with the contract killing.
Retail Fuels Marketing stopped regular delivery of fuel to Aziz's stores because he was not making required payments, and the resulting lack of gasoline created major financial problems for Aziz, according to testimony.
Dolan Prejean, a jail informant, testified Friday that Bethel told him he did an ''M-1'' - street code for first-degree murder - with Fred Shields.
Prejean, who has testified at three trials plus other hearings in the case, again testified that Bethel told him he shot Sweeney in the head with a 38-caliber handgun in a "contract 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 over a period of more than two years.
Prejean has a record of felony convictions for drug, burglary, larceny and assault offenses, records show.
Aziz pleaded guilty in January to soliciting murder and has not yet been sentenced.
Fred Shields has been convicted of murder and conspiracy counts.
His brother, Allen Shields, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy count in 2010. He killed himself in 2011.
Original Print Headline: Calls from jail discuss Sweeney slaying
Bill Braun 918-581-8455