OKEMAH — For years, the heart-breaking fatal shooting of two girls alongside a country road near Weleetka in 2008 looked to be a random deal.
Finally, in 2011, a suspect, Kevin Joe Sweat, was identified. Under questioning, he would admit to the shooting but claim he mistook the girls for “monsters.”
On Thursday, Sweat, 28, calmly pleaded guilty to murdering the girls in 2008 after prosecutors came up with new evidence that he actually acted out of revenge.
Sweat also pleaded guilty to murdering his fiancee in July 2011. He will be sentenced later.
He had one condition Thursday — he wanted to talk to the FBI.
His plea came as a surprise. His murder trial over all three deaths had been set to begin Monday.
The newly discovered evidence was “a critical factor” in Sweat’s decision to plead guilty, one of his court-appointed attorneys said afterward.
“He wanted to spare the families of everyone involved, including his own, the ordeal of going through a trial,” the defense attorney, Gretchen Mosley, also said.
Okfuskee County District Judge Lawrence Parish will decide his punishment later. Sweat, of Henryetta, faces life in prison or life in prison without the possibility of parole on each of the three first-degree murder counts.
At the sentencing, defense attorneys plan to ask the judge to consider evidence Sweat is autistic. Prosecutors will put on impact statements from the victims’ families.
Prosecutors had sought the death penalty but dropped that request early in July. In exchange, Sweat agreed to let the judge — rather than a jury — decide if he was guilty.
Sweat has corresponded with an Oklahoma City television station about wanting to talk to the FBI. The station reported he claims he has evidence that will lead to “federal indictments.”
His defense attorney said she is not really sure why Sweat wants to talk to FBI agents. “They have agreed to talk to him,” Mosley said. “He will be meeting with them, and we will be present.”
The fatal shooting on June 8, 2008, of the two girls, friends Skyla Whitaker, 11, and Taylor Paschal-Placker, 13, attracted national attention because of its strangeness.
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