New Details In Unsolved Tulsa Murder

Wednesday, June 3rd 2009, 6:46 pm
By: News On 6

By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- It's the anniversary of an unsolved homicide. Pastor Neaco Padillow was gunned down in front of a Tulsa elementary school six years ago from Tuesday.

While no one has been arrested, detectives are releasing new information about the case to News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright.

This may be a cold case, but police say they are pretty confident they know who did it and he's sitting in prison right now, for another murder.

In 2003, Neaco Padillow was at Burroughs Elementary School to pick up his nieces. It was busy, with cars and buses coming and going.

Witnesses saw Neaco have a brief conversation with a man. It didn't look confrontational, then a moment later he was shot while sitting behind the steering wheel.

Such a public murder and yet, few people were willing to talk.

"Been very hard, from the oldest brother Ronnie to the youngest sister April. We've all been grieving, each day, we think about it, you know," said Curtis Hawkins, Neaco's brother.

Neaco was the youngest of eight and known as a pastor in north Tulsa who had dreams to revitalize the area.

Police worked the case with a vengeance and even took reluctant witnesses before the grand jury, but never had enough for an arrest.

Police can now say they believe their killer is behind bars.

"The person is in prison for murder, the person we believe committed this crime," said Detective Roger Smith, Tulsa Police Major Crimes.

Both police and the family are sure there are people who know what happened. They hope enough has changed in the past six years for them to now come forward.

"Might be afraid to come forward, but if they're afraid of the particular individual we're targeting, there's no need to be because he's in prison and not getting out," said Detective Smith.

Even as Neaco's family tries to continue his dreams and his ministry, they can't move forward until they know for sure what happened and why.

"We want peace behind this because if we find peace behind this, we can put everything behind us. Right now, we cannot put everything behind us," said Hawkins.

Anyone with information about this murder can call Crime Stoppers at 596-COPS and no one will ever know their name.

If that tip is enough to help police make an arrest, that person will get a cash reward through a secret, code number system.