[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
A Floridian who raised money after his husband was killed has now been charged with the murder!!
According to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office on Friday, 55-year-old Herbert Swilley has been charged with first-degree murder in connection to the death of his husband Timothy Smith, who was found dead in their home by authorities in Ocala, Florida in March.
As per the arrest affidavit via People, Herbert requested a welfare check when he found Timothy’s Jeep outside one of their two homes on March 24. He claimed it was a day after he last saw his husband, who had not shown up to work. The next day, police went inside the residence to find the 59-year-old on a bed “naked from the waist down.” He had suffered “blunt trauma injuries to the face and possibly to the genitals.” He also had ligature marks on his neck. An autopsy determined he died from asphyxia, a condition in which the body is deprived of oxygen, and a fracture on his cervical spine.
When the death was announced, a GoFundMe page was set up for the widower, where he took in thousands of dollars, bringing in at least $2,235 of a $7,500 goal, per the outlet. We bet those kind donors feel sick knowing who their money went to now! Oof!!
Related: American Couple Who Tortured Foster Child In Uganda Will… PAY A FINE?!
As for how Herbert was charged?? After a lengthy investigation, authorities have finally found enough evidence to charge the husband with one count of first-degree premeditated murder and one count of tampering with evidence, jail records show.
According to the sheriff’s department in a statement, the victim “was dosed with a large amount of diphenhydramine (an ingredient in Benadryl and Unisom) that was 30 times higher than the normal therapeutic dose.” He was then allegedly choked to death and transported by Swilley in his own vehicle “from their shared residence to a nearby apartment that they maintained.” The statement continued:
“Once there, Swilley placed Timothy’s body inside, staged a fake crime scene, and attempted to destroy evidence using household cleaning agents. Swilley returned to their residence and then drove Timothy’s vehicle to the apartment where he left it. Swilley then walked back to their residence where he accessed their Ring camera application; investigators later learned that surveillance videos from that night were not present. Then, a few hours later, Swilley drove to the landfill where he dropped off what appeared to be two carpets from their residence before going about his day.”
Whoa. Unfortunately, many of their friends were also concerned about this man’s alleged behavior leading up to the killing. In the affidavit, an officer noted that a mutual friend, who was interviewed during the investigation, alleged that Swilley had a history of violent outbursts, a bad temper, and had made “homicidal threats.” They also claimed Timothy said he was “‘sick’ of taking care” of Herbert. Hmm.
Elsewhere in the legal docs, several other friends made remarks about Swilley’s bad temper, with two expressing fear of retaliation for speaking to authorities. Cops believe, per the investigation, that “Timothy had previously suffered domestic abuse by Swilley,” as well. In terms of motives, money was another big indicator, the police revealed:
“It was also learned that Timothy was close to securing a new job in another county and was planning to relocate there without Swilley. Investigators also uncovered that Swilley stood to profit from Timothy’s death, as he was listed as the beneficiary of Timothy’s life insurance policies, which totaled $333,000.00.”
Also suspicious?? Herbert was initially open to speaking with detectives, but they soon “realized that many of the things Swilley told investigators were false, self-serving, or contradicted by other evidence.” Herbert quickly retained a lawyer and refused to chat with authorities moving forward. His attorney also “indicated that he will only cooperate if he is provided with immunity from prosecution for Timothy’s murder,” the PD announced in a statement in August when they named him as a suspect (on the same day the husband shared a message to Facebook honoring the couple’s anniversary). Jeez.
Jordan Swilley, Herbert’s daughter, was also named as a person of interest and she similarly “declined to speak to detectives further” after making “a preliminary statement.” It does not appear as though she has been charged with anything at this time.
Right now, Herbert is being held without bond and is expected to appear in court next month. His attorney, Gail Grossman, has not commented. See the alleged murderer get taken into custody (below):
What a wild turn of events. Sucks that it’s always the husband. Sigh.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, help is available. Consider calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233, or text START to 88788, or go to https://www.thehotline.org/.
[Image via Marion County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook]