An Oklahoma man who was accused of murdering two young girls along a country road back in 2008, but who was not arrested until after being questioned in the death of his fiancée nearly three years later, ended up pleading guilty in both cases on Thursday. Kevin Sweat, age 28, entered guilty pleas to all three counts of first-degree murder in Okfuskee County District Court. Prosecutors let go of their plans to pursue the death penalty after Sweat allegedly agreed to surrender his right to a jury trial. It had been scheduled to start this coming Monday.
The two girls, Skyla Whitaker, age 11 and Taylor Paschal-Placker, age 13, were both fatally shot as they each walked down a rural road near Weleetka in eastern Oklahoma. However the case rapidly turned cold after both their bullet filled bodies were discovered not very far from where Taylor had lived with her grandfather.
Sweat was not a suspect in either of their deaths until Oklahoma police began to question him in the 2011 killing of his fiancée, Ashley Taylor, age 23. Prosecutors stated that Sweat told a detective in a videotaped interview that he had shot the two girls because he believed they were “monsters” coming toward him.
Sweat was scarcely capable of being heard during Thursday’s hearing as he replied to questions from the judge, who read a statement that Sweat had signed, which acknowledged the statements he had given during the taped interview were correct. A sentencing hearing has not yet been set for Sweat but he is looking at life in prison either with or without parole.
Sweat’s lawyers argued that Sweat was not mentally capable when he relinquished his Miranda rights before partaking in the videotaped interview but a judge agreed to permit prosecutors to use the video as proof. The video has been played at prior hearings.
In it, Sweat first speaks to an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agent and tells him that he had nothing to do with the two young girls’ deaths. He states that there would be no point in shooting kids. However he finally admits that he shot what he said were “demons” that moved toward him along the country road where the girls’ bodies were found.
Sweat declared he saw vampires, monsters, demons or whatever. He said he had some problems. He then said he was scared and they were coming at him so he shot both of them.
His fiancée Taylor came up missing in July of 2011 after telling both her parents that she was going to elope with Sweat. Oklahoma investigators stated that Sweat claimed he and Taylor got in an argument and she got out of the car after the twosome left Oklahoma to get married.
However an investigator’s report from 2011 instead read that Sweat allegedly confessed to cutting Taylor’s throat and that police had discovered human remains in a pile of ash on Sweat’s father’s property, along with a pair of prescription eyeglasses that were consistent in being a pair that belonged to Taylor herself.
The cases were eventually connected after police investigating her death discovered shell casings also on the father’s property that had markings which matched those found at the murder scene of the two girls’ back in 2008.
An Oklahoma man who was accused of murdering two girls along a country road back in 2008, but who was not arrested until after being questioned in the death of his fiancée nearly three years later, ended up pleading guilty in both cases on Thursday. Kevin Sweat, age 28, entered guilty pleas to all three counts of first-degree murder in Okfuskee County District Court.
By Kimberly Ruble
San Francisco Gate
Seattle Pi News