OKEMAH (AP) — A man accused of killing two girls along a rural Oklahoma road in 2008, but who wasn’t arrested until after being questioned in his fiancie’s death three years later, pleaded guilty in both cases Thursday.
Kevin Sweat, 28, entered guilty pleas to three counts of first-degree murder in Okfuskee County District Court. Prosecutors dropped plans to seek the death penalty after Sweat agreed to waive his right to a jury trial. His bench trial, before only a judge, was scheduled to begin Monday.
The girls — 11-year-old Skyla Whitaker and 13-year-old Taylor Paschal-Placker — were fatally shot as they walked down a road near Weleetka in rural eastern Oklahoma. Sweat was not suspected in their deaths until police questioned him in the 2011 slaying of his fiancee, Ashley Taylor.
Ongoing coverage: Weleetka murders
Investigators said Sweat confessed during a videotaped interview with state investigators, telling them he shot the two girls because he thought they were “monsters” coming at him.
Sweat’s attorneys had argued that Sweat was not mentally competent when he waived his Miranda rights before participating in the interview, but a judge agreed this year to allow prosecutors to use the video as evidence. The video had been played at previous hearings.
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