Recorded cellphone calls used by prosecutors in final Neal Sweeney murder-for-hire trial

TULSA - Tulsa County prosecutors are using taped cellphone conversations to try their suspect in a high profile murder-for-hire case.

Alonzo Johnson is accused of providing the stolen getaway van in the murder of former University of Tulsa football standout and prominent Tulsa businessman Neal Sweeney, who was shot and killed in his office in September 2008.

Four other men were implicated in the murder, including Mohammed Aziz, Allen and Fred Shields and Terrico Bethel.

Prosecutors say Aziz, a gas station owner, was angry with Sweeney for shutting off the gas to his stores and he wanted revenge.  Aziz then hired Allen Shields, who eventually got his brother Fred, Bethel and Johnson, the Shields brothers' cousin, involved in the conspiracy.

Allen Shields, the self-admitted mastermind, agreed to testify against his co-conspirators but last year committed suicide during a standoff with police.

Aziz also agreed to testify. He has not yet been sentenced.

Fred Shields and Bethel, the triggerman, were both found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

Jurors were given transcripts Friday of the conversations between Johnson and a man prosecutors believe gave him the van.

Charles Billingsley provided testimony Friday, saying he worked at an auto shop in Muskogee where the van was for sale. He said Johnson called him, telling him he needed a van but Johnson never said why.

Billingsley testified he never saw Johnson actually drive off with the van and he never told shop owners Johnson borrowed the van, even after police came out to take a report.

Five months later, police began taping phone calls between the two men, and Johnson said police were searching his home for the van's key. He told Billingsley to "keep it under your hat."

Most of that phone conversation was in code because Johnson became suspicious his calls were being recorded.

Also on the stand Friday was Dolan Prejean, a five-star general in the Hoover gang who's been incarcerated at David L. Moss since March 2009.

Prejean wrote a letter to District Attorney Tim Harris claiming Bethel admitted to him his role in the Sweeney murder.

Prejean testified he didn't know Bethel at the time but when they were both in the Tulsa County Jail Bethel told him his "past was coming to haunt him" and that he committed murder but he wasn't afraid of a DNA swab.

Prejean said one day he was being taken elsewhere in the jail to visit with his lawyer when he saw Fred Shields, a fellow gang member. Prejean said Shields asked him to talk to Bethel, who Shields referred to by his gang name "Life," to make sure he wasn't talking to police.

Prejean testified he returned to his cell and saw "Life" written on Bethel's slippers so he began asking questions. He said Bethel admitted receiving $5,000 for a contract hit on a TU hall of famer.

Prejean said detectives later put a wire on him to verify the information.

Prejean said he came forward with the information because he gave his life to God in 2002. He said he felt like knowing the information gave him a part in the murder.

Testimony in previous days has included Sweeney's coworkers and detectives who worked the case.

Meanwhile, Harris arrives to the courtroom daily wearing a bullet proof vest. Several of the suspects in this case implicated in murder plots on the district attorney and a former Tulsa homicide detective . (SEE RELATED STORIES | http://bit.ly/dahit and http://bit.ly/huffhit)

The trial will resume 9 a.m. Tuesday.

2NEWS continues to follow this case.  Stay with us for updates as the trial continues.

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