TULSA - The preliminary hearing in a murder-for-hire case continues Wednesday.
5 men are implicated in the death of Tulsa businessman Neal Sweeney.
One of the defendants, Allen Shields, has already agreed to a plea deal with the prosecution and testified against the other four defendants. He's agreed to take ten years probation in exchange for truthful testimony. It's likely he won't serve any jail time for any of the crimes of which he's currently accused, even those unrelated to the Sweeney case.
He testified against his brother, Fred Shields, who prosecutors say helped plan the murder.
Terrico Bethel, Mohammed Aziz, and Alonzo Johnson are the other three defendants. Prosecutors say Aziz hired Bethel to kill Sweeney. Court papers say Johnson provided the stolen getaway van used in the murder.
The murder happened in September of 2008. Neal Sweeney was found shot to death in his east Tulsa office.
Prosecutors believe it was over a business deal; they say Sweeney cut off the gas supply to Aziz's convenience store.
During testimony Wednesday morning, a witness who wore a wire tap while in jail took the stand. That man is also currently serving jail time. He wore the wire and talked to the defendant Terrico Bethel while the two were in jail together. The witness says Bethel admitted to his role in the homicide during their conversations.
Wednesday afternoon Neal Sweeney's assistant, Gail Townsend, took the stand. She worked for Sweeney for 18 years. She said the day Sweeney was killed a man with a hood over his head and sunglasses walked into the office and went straight to Sweeney's office. She said she then heard a gunshot and called police.
The last person to take the stand was Fred Shield's girlfriend. He's accused of recruiting people to kill Sweeney. The prosecution played several recorded phone calls between Shields and his girlfriend. The phone calls happened while Shield's was in jail. During the conversations he said he had an opportunity to make some money, but the court day ended before all the testimony was complete. The preliminary hearing is set to resume on November 1st at 9 a.m.
Copyright 2010 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Police say a man was found in stable condition Tuesday after falling in a pond and taking shelter in his guitar case.