Defense attorney for Terrico Bethel, alleged shooter in Neal Sweeney murder, released from hospital

TULSA - The defense attorney for a suspected killer has been released from a Tulsa hospital after falling ill earlier this week, forcing a delay in her client's trial.

Sharon Holmes is the attorney for Terrico Bethel, the suspected trigger man in the Neal Sweeney murder case.

On Tuesday, Holmes passed out during a break and was transported to a local hospital. 

Holmes was released from the hospital sometime Wednesday, according to hospital officials; however, the judge had already postponed the trial.

Since jurors had not been sworn in, the judge did not declare a mistrial, but he did say the earliest another jury could be brought in is late August.

Bethel is one of three suspects who will stand trial for the 2008 murder of Sweeney, a Tulsa businessman.

Sweeney was shot and killed that September at his east Tulsa office. Prosecutors believe his death was the result of a conspiracy led by Mohammed Aziz, the owner of a Tulsa convenience store.

Investigators say Aziz sought to retaliate for Sweeney cutting off fuel to Aziz's gas station.

Authorities believe Bethel was the gunman and brothers Fred and Allen Shields and their cousin, Alonzo Johnson, were also involved in the murder.

Aziz pleaded guilty in January to soliciting the murder. He has not yet been sentenced. Prosecutors say Aziz will receive a lighter prison term in exchange for his testimony in the trials of the other suspects.

Allen Shields cut a deal with prosecutors in exchange for his testimony in the trials of the other suspects; however, he killed himself during a hostage standoff with police in April 2011.

Fred Shields and Johnson's trials were set to begin Aug. 20.

Prosecutors say a trial will take place in August but now they're not sure which of the suspects will be tried at that time -- Bethel, Johnson or Shields.

This is the third time Bethel's trial has been postponed.  Court records show he is scheduled to next appear in court July 2 for a status update.

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