A key witness in a notorious murder-for-hire case in Tulsa is now dead but the Tulsa County District Attorney says the words he left behind are powerful enough to convict the men accused of the murder.
During a near seven-hour stand-off, Allen Shields, 34, finally released his ex-girlfriend’s young daughter, a short time later police say Shields took his own life.
A neighbor called police:
Caller: "Allen Shields is in her house. He is holding her daughter hostage and he said that he was going kill her and she ran outside the house."
Shields was the state’s most important witness in connection with the contract killing of businessman Neal Sweeney in September 2008.
FOX23’s Abbie Alford reports on why the prosecution and the lead investigator in the Sweeney case are still moving confidentially forward.
"Now that he is dead it is a hurdle, no doubt, it's another obstacle and we have had plenty in this case and like the rest of them we will find a way to work through it,” says Tulsa Police Homicide Detective Vic Regalado.
Allen Shields was linked to dozens of violent crimes and had more than 100 run-ins with the law. However, in the case of the Neal Sweeney murder, in exchange for his testimony against his brother, Fred Shields, cousin, Alonzo Johnson, Mohammed Aziz and Terrico Bethel, Shields walked free.,
Instead of prison time, Shields would have served 10-years probation in connection with the murder and possible cocaine trafficking charges.
"As unfortunate as it was it came down to Allen Shields was the one cooperating witness that would give the state of Oklahoma truthful testimony. I had to take into consideration his background and all of his contacts with police. Very, very difficult and unsavory decision on my part but it was the only decision that we had at the crossroads where we are at,” says Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris.
He says Shields failed to show up for a hearing Monday morning, which was unusual behavior for Shields who was on strict bond rules.
“We tried to set up as many safeguards as we possible could. Meetings with the Tulsa County Sheriffs Office twice a week, calling in regarding his whereabouts, unannounced visits by law enforcement at Mr. Shields’ personal home and business property. Every two weeks he showed up in front of Judge Gillert, if there was any kind of concern Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office would call the Tulsa Police Department and myself. We were moving along under the premise that Allen Shields would testify at any jury trial,” says Harris.
The District Attorney says since Shields' testimony during trial is now impossible, he’s now hoping to use the transcript of Shields’ testimony from the preliminary hearing.
"Just because we are passed prelim and gearing up for trial doesn't mean that everyone sits idle there is an ongoing investigation on all charges in an attempt to improve evidentiary,” says Harris.
Before Shields could do something right by telling the truth on the stand he did one more thing wrong by barricading himself in a house with a child.
A neighbor called for help.
Dispatcher: "What do you mean he has her daughter?"
Caller: "He has her daughter. He is holding her hostage, that's what I am saying. He has her daughter inside her house and she is standing outside her house because he is threatening to kill her daughter."
Police say Shields held the same girl and her mother captive last year. Charges related to that case were dropped because witnesses would reportedly not cooperate.
Authorities say Shields and his associates were feared.
"A lot of people were afraid of these individuals and rightfully so but the fact remains now Allen is dead and a good portion of the individuals are incarcerated right now. We are going to continue to move forward not just with the Sweeney investigation but others,” says Regalado.
Investigators say Shields contacts contacts are suspected of putting out hits on Harris and TPD Homicide Sergeant Mike Huff. Shields and his associates are suspected in several unsolved murders and other crimes.
Court records how Alonzo Johnson had made threats to kill Allen Shields because of his testimony in the Sweeney case.
Shields may be gone but the threat is not.
"Tulsa is a tad bit safer without Allen but there's a lot of people out there who are just as bad as Allen and involved in this group and we are dealing with several of them who are currently incarcerated,” says Regalado.
Shields and Associates History:
Police say Shields, 34, had been a suspect in dozens of violent crimes and had more than 100 run-ins with the law and never spent a day in prison.
"Crime is not over because Allen Shields is dead, it's still alive and well and there are individuals that were in this group that continue to thrive and those are the one's that we want to stop,” says Regalado.
Court records show Shields’ brother Fred, threatened to tell police about the 2007 disappearance of Allen’s ex-girlfriend Angie Tucker.
Her body has never been found but police think something bad happened and Shields’ was the prime suspect.
"We are going to investigate those despite his death and we encourage anyone that has any knowledge of his involvement in crimes to come forward,” says Regalado.
Records also show Tulsa County deputies filed a search warrant for Shield’s DNA in connection to the 2008 murder of Fred Wilson.
Shields’ cousin, Alonzo Johnson’s DNA hasn’t been ruled out but no one has been charged in connection to that case.
Johnson, a convicted felon also charged with murdering a member of a burglary ring in Osage County.
Now Johnson, Fred Shields, Terrico Bethel and Mohammed Aziz are awaiting trial in the murder of Neal Sweeney.
However, police believe had witnesses come forward in a number of unsolved cases, Shields may have seen justice behind bars.
Now they hope they’ll break their silence
"The fact remains they have a very violent reputation and they had a propensity for violence, there is no doubt about that and I think that thye intimidated a lot of people from stepping forward,” says Regalado.
If you have any information about any crimes connected with the listed suspects or the Sweeney case call Crime Stoppers at (918) 596-COPS (2677) or text a tip to “CRIMES” (274637) and begin your message with “TIP918” or you can submit a tip online at www.tipsubmit.com. Remember you never have to give your name and your tip could lead to a cash reward.
Johnson, Aziz, Shields and Bethel are in jail and are being held without bond.
With a change in defense attorneys, some have argued for separate trials.
Johnson’s trial has been scheduled for October.