The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the Okfuskee County DA’s Office announced first degree murder charges have been filed against 25-year-old Kevin Sweat for the June 2008 murders of 13-year-old Taylor Placker and 11-year-old Skyla Whitaker.
On June 8th, 2008, the girls were shot a total of 13 times as they played on a dirt road near to Placker’s home near Weleetka in Okfuskee County.
Autopsy reports show Placker was shot five times and Skyla was shot eight times.
"Over the past 3 and half years agents sifted through 650 interviews, more than 900 leads, performed 19,00 forensic tests and 800 pieces of evidence," says OSBI Director Stan Florence.
The key piece of evidence was a .40 caliber Glock.
Agents sent out letters to all owners in the area with that type of gun.
An affidavit shows it wasn't until January 2010 when the lead agent recieved information Sweat purchased a .40 caliber gun in 2007.
"He was interviewed in relation to the fact that he had in his possession a .40 caliber Glock," says Florence.
Court records show he told OSBI agents he sold the gun in 2007.
There was not information or evidence at the time that would link him to he case, not until after Ashley's death," says Florence.
23-year-old Ashley Taylor was Sweat's girlfriend. She went missing in July, 2011, and her body was found in a burn pile near Sweat's father's property near Weleetka.
Sweat was soon charged and held without bond in connection to Taylor's murder.
"It was during that investigation we learned that Mr. Sweat may have been involved in the murders of Taylor Placker and Skyla Whitaker. Over the next several months we worked diligently. There were promising leads and evidence tested," says Florence.
Taylor's family previously told FOX23 News Sweat made comments about the Weleetka girls after he was confronted about his girlfriend's disappearance.
"Information specific to Mr. Sweat began in to evolve in late August. It was good information but it still was not sufficient. It took several months to work on that and confirm evidence," says Florence.
The smoking gun came when agents linked .40 caliber shell casings from Sweat's father's property to shell casings in the Weleetka murders.
The affidavit states the lead agent interviewed Sweat on September 13th and read him his MIranda Rights:
"Sweat said that on June 2008, during the afternoon, he was driving his black Chevrolet Cavalier car on North 3890 Road in Okfuskee County. Sweat pulled over on the side of the road and saw "two monsters." Sweat then "panicked" and grabbed his Glock .40 caliber handgun from between the seats of his car.
Sweat then "shot the monsters" with his Glock handgun. Sweat then grabbed his ".22 caliber" gun from the glove box and "shot the monsters" with his .22 caliber gun. Sweat then got back in his car and left. Sweat told OSBI that he shot the "monsters" with the Glock handgun that he had purchased in 2007 while living in Henryetta."
The affidavit states the gun was sold to a gun dealer in Oklahoma in 2006 and Sweat bought that gun in 2007.
"This case took us to locations all over Oklahoma and points outside of our state," says Florence.
The gun previously was owned by Balitmore City Police. BPD had shell casings from the gun so agents stated they tested the shell casings from BPD which matched the shell casings from the Weleetka murder.
Placker's family was at the press conference but did not want to talk about the arrest.
"These promising leads followed a tedious and methodical pace. Knowing full well that Sweat was already behind bars being held without bond and now today because of this work we have the evidence to prove that Mr. Sweat killed Taylor and Skyla," says Florence.
OSBI says this case shows they continue to work cold cases.
“As with this case we will never give up. And hopefully one day like this day we will have the experience like these families of Taylor and Skyla are having finally being able to experience justice for their loved one’s," says Florence.
Investigators released two photographs of Sweat, who is from Henryetta. One is the booking photo taken when he was arrested and subsequently charged with the murder of Ashley Taylor, his girlfriend. The other photo was taken around the time of the Weleetka murders.
In a press conference OSBI officials said they appreciate the work of many law enforcement officials across the state and on a federal level. Those agencies include the Okfuskee and Okmulgee County Sheriff’s Office, Weleetka, Henryetta, Okemah, and Okmulgee Police Departments, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, several Narcotics Task Forces, the ATF, U.S. Marshal’s Service, and the FBI.
The OSBI has identified one of two weapons used in the murder as a .40 Glock model 22 with serial number EKG463US. Sweat may have tried to sell that gun at a gun show in Tulsa this March. The OSBI is offering up to a $5,000 reward for that firearm.
The OSBI continues to urge anyone with information about this case to call 1-800-522-8017. A sizeable reward remains in place for such information.
Okfuskee County DA, Max Cook says he's filed motions to seek seek the death penalty for all three murders. Sweat is being held without bond in the Seminole County Jail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled on December 13th in connection to Taylor's murder.
Timeline of the Weleetka investigation from the arrest affidavit:
June 2008 Weleetka girls killed, investigator found .40 caliber shell casings from same gun
Jan. 2010 OSBI received info Sweat purchased .40 caliber gun in fall 2007
Jan. 21st Sweat interviewed by OSBI and said he sold .40 cal gun in 2007
Aug. 22nd OSBI went to Sweat's father's property near Weleetka and learned Sweat shot guns in the area and recovered .40 caliber shell casings
OSBI tested the shell casings and matched them to shell casings from the Weleetka murders
OSBI traced the .40 caliber gun owned by Sweat to gun dealer and found the the serial number EKG463US
Sept. 2011 FBI and ATF find gun had been sold to OK dealer in 2006, gun eventually purchased by Sweat
Sept. 13, OSBI interviews Sweat. Miranda rights read:
Sweat said that on June 2008, during the afternoon, he was driving his black Chevrolet Cavalier car on North 3890 Road in Okfuskee County. Sweat pulled over on the side of the road and saw "two monsters." Sweat then "panicked" and grabbed his Glock .40 caliber handgun from between the seats of his car.
Sweat then "shot the monsters" with his Glock handgun. Sweat then grabbed his ".22 caliber" gun from the glove box and "shot the monsters" with his .22 caliber gun. Sweat then got back in his car and left. Sweat told OSBI that he shot the "monsters" with the Glock handgun that he had purchased in 2007 while living in Henryetta.
Sept. 30th FBI learns gun with serial number originally was owned by the Baltimore Police Department
Oct. 5th, OSBI tested shell casing from that Baltimore .40 cal shell casing and it matched the gun used in Weleetka