The Norman Transcript

State/Region

July 5, 2014

Death penalty off table for triple murder

OKEMAH — A man accused of fatally shooting two Oklahoma girls then killing his fiancee three years later no longer faces the death penalty after he agreed to waive his right to a jury trial.

Kevin Sweat is accused of killing 11-year-old Skyla Whitaker and 13-year-old Taylor Paschal-Placker as the girls walked down a road in rural Oklahoma in 2008. But he wasn’t suspected in their deaths until police questioned him in the 2011 slaying of his fiancee, Ashley Taylor.

He has pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree murder.

Defense attorney Peter Astor told the Tulsa World that Sweat waived his right to a jury trial Thursday in exchange for prosecutors not seeking the death penalty.

Earlier this year, Judge Lawrence Parish ruled that prosecutors could introduce as evidence a videotaped interview with state investigators in which Sweat said he shot the two young girls because he thought they were “monsters” coming at him.

Sweat’s attorneys had argued that Sweat wasn’t mentally competent when he waived his Miranda rights before participating in the interview.

“I see demons, vampires ... monsters, demons, whatever. I do have some problems,” Sweat tells Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agent Kurt Titsworth in the video, which was played in open court during previous hearings. “I was scared. ... They were still coming at me, so I shot them.”

Sweat’s bench trial is set for Aug. 4. If convicted of first-degree murder, he faces life in prison, either with or without the possibility of parole.

Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State/Region
  • Immigrant children being placed with sponsors

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The federal government says more than 200 unaccompanied children in Oklahoma have been placed with sponsors so far this year. The federal government released a state-by-state breakdown Thursday of the numbers of ...

    July 25, 2014

  • OCU prepares to move law library downtown

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City University’s School of Law is moving its library into a historic building in downtown Oklahoma City....

    July 25, 2014

  • CareerTech board names Mack as interim director

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma State Board of Career and Technology Education has named CareerTech deputy state director and chief operating officer Marcie Mack as interim director....

    July 25, 2014

  • Ohio State marching band chief fired

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State University fired the director of its celebrated marching band on Thursday amid allegations he knew about and ignored “serious cultural issues,” some involving rituals where students were pressured to march in ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Board votes to delay plan

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s State Board of Education voted on Wednesday for a second time to delay a formal plan for adopting new education standards in math and English amid opposition to the proposal from three education groups that ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Sentencing delayed for Oklahoma tea party leader

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Formal sentencing for the co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party on felony blackmail and computer crimes convictions has been delayed....

    July 23, 2014

  • Heat advisory issued for much of Oklahoma

    TULSA — The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory through late today for much of the state as stifling heat and humidity continue to affect Oklahoma this week....

    July 23, 2014

  • 34 OSBI agents graduate investigative academy

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Thirty-four agents are graduating from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Advanced Investigative Academy....

    July 23, 2014

  • Okla. legislator doctor wants minors quarantined

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A state lawmaker who is one of two doctors in the Oklahoma Legislature is insisting that unaccompanied immigrant minors being housed at Fort Sill be quarantined....

    July 23, 2014

  • Common Core repeal has state teachers worried about instruction

    OKLAHOMA CITY — With the Legislature’s repeal of tough, new English and math standards known as Common Core, education leaders said they’re concerned Oklahoma students will fall further behind their counterparts in more than 40 states ...

    July 22, 2014