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Oklahoma Man Faces Death Penalty in First-Degree Murder Case

An Oklahoma man charged in the 2008 fatal shooting of two young Oklahoma girls and the 2011 death of his girlfriend will be tried for all three crimes at the same time next January, a judge ruled this week. Kevin Sweat, 27, was scheduled to be tried for the death of his girlfriend, Ashley Taylor, …

An Oklahoma man charged in the 2008 fatal shooting of two young Oklahoma girls and the 2011 death of his girlfriend will be tried for all three crimes at the same time next January, a judge ruled this week. Kevin Sweat, 27, was scheduled to be tried for the death of his girlfriend, Ashley Taylor, next month, but will instead be tried in January for Taylor’s death and the shooting deaths of 11-year-old Skyla Whitaker and 13-year-old Taylor Placker as well, the judge ruled. Sweat has pleaded not guilty to all three crimes, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the criminal case. If you have been charged with murder or another serious criminal offense in Oklahoma, contact our reputable defense attorneys at Oklahoma Legal Center to discuss your possible defense options.

Protecting Yourself Against OK Criminal Charges

The three murder cases were joined by Okfuskee County District Judge Lawrence Parish in agreement with prosecutors and Sweat’s defense team, following a ruling by Parish that evidence related to the Oklahoma girls’ deaths could be presented during the trial over Taylor’s death. The defense filed a motion to join the cases last month, arguing that, while prosecutors could have referred to the girls’ deaths during Sweat’s trial in Taylor’s death, his defense attorneys would have been limited in their ability to defend Sweat against the evidence. “We believe the cases need to be joined so that the evidence will have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Sweat’s defense team.

Penalties for First-Degree Murder in Oklahoma

According to Assistant District Attorney Maxey Reilly, Oklahoma state law allows criminal cases to be joined if they are similar in nature, are close in time and occurred in the same general area. However, the longest span of time between joined cases was previously eight months; in Sweat’s case, three years passed between the deaths of the two Oklahoma girls and the death of Sweat’s girlfriend. Under Oklahoma law, a first-degree murder conviction carries harsh penalties, including life in prison with the possibility of parole, life in prison without the possibility of parole, or a death sentence.

Consult Our Criminal Defense Attorneys Today

First-degree murder can be charged in cases where a person unlawfully and with “malice aforethought” (or premeditation) causes the death of another person. Compared to second-degree murder, individuals in Oklahoma charged with first-degree murder are considered far more depraved and face much more severe punishment. If you are facing charges for first- or second-degree murder in Oklahoma City, or elsewhere in Oklahoma, your first course of action should be to consult our criminal defense lawyers at Oklahoma Legal Center. Our legal team has years of experience protecting the rights of Oklahomans charged with murder, and will work diligently to help you build a strong defense in your criminal case.

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