Murder Suspect’s Wife: Husband Innocent

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

The wife of a man accused of murder shared her husband’s side of the story Wednesday. Crystal Patton believes her husband, James Patton, is innocent.

A Prairie Grove man was beaten and dumped in a ditch last week. Four people now face capital murder charges.

Patton says her husband has a problem with alcohol, but claims he would never beat a man to death.

“James, he's not a fighter,” said Patton. “He's mouthy, but he's not a fighter.”

Patton says her husband, James, called her from the Washington County Detention Center last week. James Patton, Heather Swain, Anthony Swinford, and Timothy Swinford all face capital murder charges.

“If James would have thought that man was you know seriously injured he would have called the police,” said Patton. “That's just James.”

Investigators found the body of Ronnie Lee Bradley in a ditch near Prairie Grove. Neighbors say the man was disabled. He was beaten, choked, and then dumped, according to the prosecutor’s office.

“When they took James home, the man was still alive and conscious,” said Patton.

Patton claims the victim had an affair with the wife of one of the suspects. Patton says her husband was drinking that day and asked the others during the incident to take him home. She claims her husband tried to help the victim.

“He said he had blacked out once they hit the ditch,” said Patton. “He don't remember a whole lot. He remembers pulling the man out of the floor board three or four times.”

Patton says her husband also suffered injuries that day.

“I know James didn't beat anybody to death,” said Patton. “He really didn't. I don't believe that with anything in me.”

James Patton and the three other suspects also face kidnapping and other charges. All four suspects are being held in jail without bond. They are set to be arraigned on Jan. 30.