OKEMAH, Okla. — A pretrial hearing has been continued until March so more psychological testing can be done on a man accused of gunning down two girls in rural Oklahoma, then killing his fiancee three years later.
Kevin Sweat is accused of fatally shooting 11-year-old Skyla Whitaker and 13-year-old Taylor Paschal-Placker in 2008, though authorities didn't suspect him of the slayings until they interviewed him following the 2011 death of his fiancee, Ashley Taylor. Sweat is charged with three counts of first-degree murder.
At a hearing Tuesday, a psychologist for the defense testified that Sweat couldn't give a "knowing and intelligent" waiver of his Miranda rights when he was interviewed in 2011 by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. The hearing is to determine whether the videotaped interview can be shown during Sweat's trial later this year.
In the video, Sweat first tells Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agent Kurt Titsworth he had nothing to do with the girls' deaths.
"There would be no point to shooting kids," Sweat said in the video.
But Sweat eventually said he shot what he said were "the demons" who approached him along a rural road where the girls' bullet-riddled bodies were found.
"I see demons, vampires ... monsters, demons, whatever. I do have some problems," Sweat said. "I was scared. ... They were still coming at me, so I shot them."
At Tuesday's hearing, forensic psychologist Bruce Frumkin testified that although Sweat scored well on some psychological tests, others tests showed problems with the way he perceives or processes information.
"Things get jumbled up in his brain," Frumkin told the court, adding that the officers reading Sweat's rights out loud may have read too quickly for Sweat to fully understand.
Prosecutors have argued that Sweat signed documents saying he knew and understood his Miranda rights before speaking with authorities. OSBI agents who interviewed Sweat testified in December that Sweat's confessions were voluntary and not coerced.
The hearing will continue March 26 after a psychologist for the state examines Sweat.
Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com