Suspects, Victim In Murder Case Have Violent Criminal Histories

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One of the suspects connected to an alleged murder last week in Prairie Grove was released from jail earlier this year for aggravated assault, according to court records.

Anthony Swinford was sentenced in April to 236 days in the Washington County Detention Center for aggravated assault. He pleaded guilty to the charge and received a sentence of time served.

Anthony Swinford’s assault case is just part of the extensive criminal history that also includes his fellow suspects accused of beating a Prairie Grove man to death last week.

The five people connected to the alleged murder last week in Prairie Grove all have criminal histories, some that reach back into the 1990s.

Police said four Prairie Grove residents picked up Ronnie Lee Bradley last week and took turns punching and choking him while driving around Washington County for hours. Bradley died later that night.

Anthony Swinford, Timothy Swinford, Heather Swain and James Patton were arrested on suspicion of capital murder and kidnapping. They were booked Friday into the Washington County Detention Center, where they remained Monday night without bond. The four are set to be arraigned on the felony charges Jan. 30.

Anthony Swinford’s earliest arrest in the county came in 1997, on suspicion of domestic abuse. Later that year, he received a two-year prison sentence for aggravated assault.

Then in 1999, Anthony Swinford received a three-year suspended sentence for breaking and entering. He faced commercial burglary charges less than a year later.

Anthony Swinford’s criminal history took 10 years off before he was charged with domestic abuse and terroristic threatening in 2010. He pleaded guilty to the terroristic threatening charge and received four years probation.

Anthony Swinford’s most recent brush with the law happened earlier this year, three days before he received his sentence for aggravated assault. Anthony Swinford was arrested in April on suspicion of domestic abuse. The charge was later dismissed.

The suspected murder came fewer than two weeks after Patton was arrested by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office on suspicion of third-degree domestic battery. He has been arrested on suspicion of domestic abuse three times since Oct. 10. Patton was also arrested on suspicion of domestic abuse in 2002.

Timothy Swinford’s most recent arrest was in 2010, on suspicion of theft of property. He was arrested on suspicion of delivery of a controlled substance in 1995 and on suspicion of robbery and battery in 1996.

Timothy Swinford also faced theft of property charges in 2000 and 2004.

Swain, who police said cleaned up the crime scene after the foursome beat Bradley to death, has the least extensive criminal history, which includes a dismissed domestic abuse case in 2012 and a hot check arrest in 1999.

Even the alleged murder victim has been arrested on violent charges. Bradley was arrested last year on suspicion of aggravated assault and terroristic threatening. The attorney chose not to prosecute in the case, according to Circuit Court records. Bradley received 10 years of probation the same year for manufacturing a controlled substance.

The car in Bradley’s driveway has a license plate for disabled drivers.

Bradley told the suspects several times during the beating, “Please take me home,” according to a preliminary report from the Washington County Prosecutor’s Office.

Deputies said they are investigating the suspects’ motives for the crime.

The Sheriff’s Office responded to a call at 8:30 a.m. Thursday of a male in the unpaved driveway of a chicken farm at 17409 Four Corner Road. Responders determined the body was Bradley, and he was declared dead at the scene.

Deputies received information that Anthony Swinford may be involved in the suspected murder. In an interview later with authorities, Anthony Swinford said he beat the victim and left him in the driveway. He also implicated Swain, Patton and Timothy Swinford as accomplices, a report states.

Anthony Swinford also rode along with investigators and pointed out the incident locations, according to a preliminary report.

Swain cleaned up the evidence after the suspects dropped Bradley off in a driveway, a report states. She also faces a charge of tampering with evidence.

Investigators recovered bloody clothing and the vehicle used in the crime, according to the preliminary report. The suspects had marks on them that suggested they were involved in an altercation, a report states.

Three of the four suspects admitted to taking part in the beating, deputies said. Their admissions were backed up by witness statements, video evidence and physical evidence taken from the vehicle and the suspects’ homes, a report states.

Swain and Patton live in the same home. Anthony and Timothy Swinford are also roommates.