Weleetka murder suspect Kevin Sweat appears in court for prelim, status hearings

OKEMAH, Okla. - The man accused of murdering two young girls from Weleetka and his own fiancee is in court Tuesday.

Kevin Sweat faces first-degree murder charges for gunning down Skyla Whitaker and Taylor Pachel Placker in rural Weleetka in 2008. 

Sweat is also charged with the murder of his fiancee, Ashley Taylor, last year.

Tuesday's hearing began at 9:15 a.m. in Okfuskee County.

Seven witnesses were expected to testify on behalf of the state in the Taylor murder case before the end of the day, but testimony could continue Wednesday.

Taylor was last seen July 15 by her family, who said she was preparing to travel to New Orleans to marry Sweat July 17. The couple was supposed to return July 29, but Taylor was never heard from again.

Sweat's fiancee's mother, Patricia Taylor, was the first witness of the day. Her testimony lasted more than an hour.

Sweat's father, Patrick Sweat, took the stand next. It was Patrick Sweat's property in rural Weleetka where Taylor's remains were found.

Patrick Sweat testified about finding fires burning on his property July 17 and 18. He said he found a cup with Sweat's initials on it the first day.

Patrick Sweat said he was upset because there was a burn ban. He called his son, who claimed he was "cooking marshmallows and weenies."

The next day, when Patrick Sweat found a second fire, he found a ring that he eventually turned over to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

Taylor's charred remains were later found in that same burn pile. The ring fit the description of the engagement ring described by Taylor's mother.

The third testimony came from Delinda Morrison, Sweat's aunt and Patrick Sweat's sister, who said the two were very close at the time of Taylor's murder.

Morrison said Sweat was at her home daily during that time. She said Sweat told her he no longer wished to marry Taylor and he intended to break up with her the weekend they were to leave for the wedding.

The day Taylor went missing, Morrison said Sweat told her he and Taylor argued and she got out of the car. His aunt testified, "He asked me if he did something really bad, would I still love him?"

Morrison describes Sweat as red and sweaty that day. He took a shower at her home before getting ready for his job at Subway.

In the following days, Morrison said Sweat admitted to her that he and Taylor got into a fight at Nichols Park and he stabbed her and left her there.

Okmulgee Police Officer Lyndon Spears took the stand next. Spears was the original officer who took the missing person report from Taylor's mother and aunt, Dion Coy.

Spears testified he spoke to Sweat by phone, saying, "Kevin had stated he and Ashley got into a fight. And he had let her out of the car on Highway 75 between Okmulgee and Schulter."

Spears said he asked Sweat to visit the Okmulgee Police Department to give a statement. Sweat agreed and said he would be there in 10 minutes. Sweat never arrived.

"Instead, I was dispatched to a disturbance at the Turning Leaf Apartments," said Spears. "(Sweat) was sitting in his car, surrounded by family members of Ashley Taylor."

Taylor's mother testified to the same confrontation earlier in the hearing.

Spears said the night of the confrontation, Taylor's family asked police to do a welfare check inside the apartment.

Spears said another officer entered the apartment through an open bathroom window, then opened the door for Spears.

He described the apartment as "disgusting and filthy," saying he saw a bottle of bleach and rubber gloves, which he found odd because it looked like nothing inside the apartment had been cleaned for months.

Inside Sweat's vehicle, police found a machete, knives and magazines of ammo. Police also found a "large chopping ax" with what Spears said officers thought could have been blood.

2NEWS Reporter Casey Roebuck is in the courtroom.  We'll have more information about the appearance throughout the day.

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