Lori Fullbright, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- Four of the five men accused of contracting and carrying out the murder of Neal Sweeney were in court Tuesday for a judge to decide if there's enough evidence for them to stand trial.
Allen Shields is the state's key witness against the other four, including his own brother and cousin. He's a guy who's been charged in the past with kidnapping, assault and drugs and is charged with conspiracy to commit murder in this case.
But, in exchange for testifying, he'll get 10 years probation, no prison time.. that's after admitting he brokered the deal that led to Sweeney's death.
He testified Mohammad Aziz asked him to find someone to first beat up, then kill, "the gas man," the man who had shut off gas to Aziz's convenience store and was suing Aziz over an unpaid gas bill.
Allen Shields says he then went to his brother Fred with the request, who set a price of $10,000, and that Fred Shields went to Terrico Bethel to do the shooting and Alonzo Johnson to provide the get-away vehicle.
The lawyers for the other four men, asked Allen Shields some hard questions about what he was promised in exchange for throwing the others "under the bus."
They questioned why they should believe his story now, after he admitted he had lied to police during the investigation. Allen Shields repeatedly said he was promised the probation deal on one condition, that he must tell the truth.
Allen Shields admitted he was the middle man for the murder for hire deal, taking messages back and forth, getting money and paying it out to different players. He said was he was in Muskogee on September fourth, 2008 when someone shot and killed Neal Sweeney as he sat at his desk in East Tulsa.
Police are the first to admit Allen Shields wouldn't be their first choice for a witness, but say these are the types of people involved in murderous crimes, so sometimes, they must deal with the lesser of the evils in order to get the major players and in this case, they say, Allen Shields, the middle man, is that person.
Prosecutors have much more than just Allen Shields' word; they say they can back up what he's saying with wiretapped phone calls and recorded calls from the jail that could be presented at trial.
Members of Neal Sweeney's family were in the courtroom and the testimony seemed so callous.
Shields would ask, "now, is that before or after Sweeney was dead?" And, seemed cavalier talking about killing a man for money, but to Sweeney's family, he was a husband, a man you fell in love with, dated, married and raised children with and to his daughters, he was a father they idolized.
The testimony is only going to get harder for them if they have to sit through four murder trials.