Man And Woman In Deadly Beating Seek Appeal, Reduced Sentence
One of the three people convicted of beating a Prairie Grove man to death in 2012 has appealed her case, while an accomplice is trying to reduce his life sentence.
Heather Swain was found guilty by a Washington County jury last month of being an accomplice to murder and an accomplice to kidnapping, netting her a life sentence, plus 25 years in prison, according to court records. Her attorney Bill James filed an appeal last week in Washington County, seeking for the case to be picked up by the Arkansas Court of Appeals, according to court documents.
Anthony Swinford is one of the men who pleaded guilty to killing Ronnie Lee Bradly, a man who was driven around and beaten, before being dumped on the side of the road and dying.
Swinford filed paperwork through the Washington County Circuit Clerk last week seeking a reduction in his 80-year sentence, stating the length of imprisonment is “excessive” and “would make it impossible to serve to the total 80 years in one’s life span at age 36,” according to court documents.
Swinford’s motion also states the sentence does not give him a chance to get out of prison on parole and lead a life “after his debt to society has been paid.”
Swinford pleaded guilty in November to first-degree murder and kidnapping, receiving a 40-year prison sentence for the murder and 40 years for the kidnapping. Those sentences are set to run consecutively, according to court documents. Swinford’s guilty plea left the death penalty off of the table.
Anthony Swinford, Timothy Swinford, Swain and James Patton were arrested December 2012 on suspicion of capital murder and kidnapping. In January, they pleaded not guilty at their arraignments in the Washington County Detention Center.
Bradley, a Prairie Grove resident described by neighbors as disabled, was beaten to death while the suspects took turns driving and punching and choking him, according to a preliminary report from the Washington County Prosecutor’s Office. Bradley lived on Cleveland Street in Prairie Grove. The car in his driveway has a license plate for disabled drivers.
Bradley told the suspects several times during the beating, “Please take me home,” the report states.
Timothy Swinford, 38, pleaded guilty in December 2013 to first-degree murder and kidnapping. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison, with an additional 30-year sentence suspended, according to court records.
Patton is the only defendant who has not been convicted in Bradley’s death. His murder trial is scheduled to begin April 1 at 9 a.m. in Judge William Storey’s Washington County Circuit Courtroom.
The Sheriff’s Office responded to a call at 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 27, 2012, 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.
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 was also arrested and convicted of domestic battery in 2008 and a previous charge of assault on a family member.
All the suspects have a criminal history. Swain has previously been arrested in connection with domestic battery, possession of a controlled substance and driving while intoxicated. Anthony Swinford has a criminal history that includes charges of aggravated assault, possession of a controlled substance, domestic battery, breaking and entering, theft, commercial burglary, terroristic threatening and violation of a protection order. Timothy Swinford’s history includes arrests on suspicion of domestic battery, endangering the welfare of a minor and driving while intoxicated.