Opening statements, 1st testimony given in final murder-for-hire trial involving Neal Sweeney case

TULSA - Opening statements were given Tuesday in the final trial involving a murder-for-hire scheme that targeted a prominent Tulsa businessman.

Alonzo Johnson, one of five suspects to stand trial for the murder of Neal Sweeney, reportedly provided the stolen getaway vehicle used in the fatal shooting.

In addition to opening statements, Tuesday featured an emotional testimony from the trial's first witness, Sweeney's office manager.

The woman told the court she witnessed a black man walk into Sweeney's office very quickly. A gun shot was heard soon thereafter, she said.

Prosecutors say gas station owner Mohammed Aziz hired Allen Shields to kill Sweeney. Shields and his brother Fred then hired Terrico Bethel to carry out the hit.

Bethel shot and killed Sweeney in September 2008.

Aziz and Allen Shields both agreed to testify against their co-conspirators, but Shields committed suicide in 2011 during a police standoff. Aziz hasn't been sentenced.

Bethel and Fred Shields were both convicted of first-degree murder.

Johnson is a cousin to the Shields brothers.

Court is in recess until 9 a.m. Wednesday.

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