Mastermind Of Tulsa's Neal Sweeney Murder Sentenced To Prison
TULSA, Oklahoma - Four years after Tulsa businessman Neal Sweeney was murdered, the mastermind behind the slaying is finally sentenced.
The judge sentenced Mohammed Aziz to 32 and a half years in prison.
Before the sentencing, Judge Tom Gillert looked at Aziz and told him it was taking everything in him to not slap him. He said Aziz has continued to be hateful and unremorseful throughout the sentencing process.
It's been four long years since Neal Sweeney was murdered.
Sweeney owned a fuel business and Mohammed Aziz was one of his customers.
When Aziz was slapped with a lawsuit for unpaid fuel bills, prosecutors say he hired Allen Shields to set up Sweeney's murder.
"It's certainly unbelievable to me that contract killings happen in our community," said Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris.
Aziz was sentenced to 32 and a half years in prison and two and half years of probation.
During the sentencing, Sweeney's daughter, Alex, read a note to Aziz.
She told him, "You did not break my family or what it stands for. We will continue to remain ‘Sweeney strong.'"
She called him pathetic multiple times and said he's weak and a coward.
The entire time, Aziz held his head down.
Sweeney's wife also spoke to the man who is responsible for arranging her husband's murder.
She said, during this entire process, Aziz only showed hatred and arrogance and always found a way to justify what he did.
Harris said this is the most difficult case in his career and it's been even harder on the Sweeney family.
"With the uphill battle that they've been through, and listening to the totality of the testimony - not once, not twice, but three times - it's more than any victim should have to ever bear," he said.
Four other men were part of the plot. Fred Shields and Alonzo Johnson were sentenced to two consecutive life terms, Allen Shields committed suicide before going on trial, and triggerman Terrico Bethel was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility for parole.
Aziz, the mastermind behind it all, took a plea deal.
"As difficult as that is, I truly believe without that negotiated plea from Mr. Aziz, other co-defendants would have walked and not been held accountable for the murder of Mr. Sweeney, so it had to be done," Harris said.
Since Aziz was charged with solicitation, there's a chance he may not serve his full sentence.
Solicitation is not an 85 percent crime in the state of Oklahoma, which means Aziz will not have to serve 85 percent of his term before he's eligible for parole. Also, he's been in jail since last January, and the judge says he will get credit for time served.