Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Shawnee, OK: Love triangle ends in woman's stabbing death

SHAWNEE, Okla. -- One woman is dead and another is behind bars in Shawnee after police say a love triangle was motive for murder. An argument over property inside an apartment led to one woman stabbing another woman in a parking lot.

"(She was) holding her chest somewhere about right here," neighbor Chase Stewart recalled, holding his hand over his upper left chest. "Blood, bleeding and crying."

Stewart remembers feeling helpless as he watched 29-year-old Gina Swain suffer, Sunday afternoon.

She was sitting in a patio chair after being stabbed at the Chapel Ridge Apartments in Shawnee.

Swain was eventually flown to OU Medical Center and died less than 24 hours later, Monday morning.

"It's just sad and I'm sorry for her and her family that there's really nothing you can do in that situation," Stewart said. "It's just awful."

"We had a witness come forward and give us a name of our suspect who had already fled on foot," Detective Charles Swantek said.

He says police called 23-year-old Heather Checotah and convinced her to surrender at a friend's house.

A police affidavit states, "Checotah admitted to stabbing Gina Swain once with a kitchen knife" after chasing her in a parking lot.

Police say it was a domestic issue, involving an argument over property.

A female witness told police Checotah was her ex-girlfriend and said she was also acquainted with Swain.

The affidavit states, "Checotah stated that she grabbed the knife from inside (her ex-girlfriend's) apartment" and "admitted that she was angry at Swain."

"We have one (person) that will no longer be with us and the other, her life is going to be changed from now on," Swantek said. "There's no words to say how tragic it would be."

Checotah is being held without bail as the investigation continues.

After Swain died, police say the initial complaint of assault and battery with a deadly weapon against Checotah was modified to a first-degree murder complaint.

Checotah won't be arraigned on that murder charge until Feb. 21 at the Pottawatomie County courthouse.

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