Victim's Family Relieved After Oklahoma Man Pleads Guilty To Murders
OKFUSKEE COUNTY, Oklahoma - An Oklahoma man pleaded guilty in Okfuskee County to three murders on Thursday, his own fiancée and two young girls in Weleetka.
It's been six years since the Weleetka murders and just three years since Ashley Taylor's murder. The common link in the two is the killer, Kevin Sweat, who didn't really say anything in court Thursday, except that he wanted to plead guilty.
The families of the Weleetka girls learned there's a drug connection that prompted those murders, but it's less clear why he killed Taylor.
For her family, though, there is at least relief that this part is over.
After three years of waiting and wondering, Mike and Faye Taylor finally know their daughter's killer has admitted guilt.
“Yeah, it was kind of shock, but at the same time it was a lot of relief ‘cause now I don’t have to go through that long trial. We don’t have to sit in that courtroom day after day after day,” said Mike Taylor.
It happened suddenly; they got a phone call telling them Sweat was ready to plead guilty, but the judge was waiting on them to get to the courthouse.
The decision might have been encouraged by new evidence - jailhouse recordings and witnesses saying Sweat hated the Placker family, the family of one of Weleetka girls - and blamed them for his brother's death in a drug overdose.
Sweat admitted killing 11-year-old Skyla Whitaker and 13-year-old Taylor Paschal-Placker, and his fiancée, Ashley Taylor.
The DA's office said the plea leaves Sweat with either three life sentences or life without parole.
“Now we don't have to guess, do they have enough evidence, is he going to end up behind bars, we didn’t know, even though you feel like there’s a strong case, you never know till it’s done,” Mike Taylor said.
The Taylors said after Sweat is sentenced, they intend to focus more on victim's rights and helping other families like theirs.
They said they can only be positive after all this because of the people who have helped them.
"You just have to keep pushing forward and believe in God and trust him and have a lot of faith,” said Ashley Taylor.
Sweat will be sentenced in about 45 days. In the courtroom he'll hear impact statements from the families.
A judge, not a jury, will determine the sentence.