In a shocking turn of events, a Florida man who had previously garnered public sympathy through a GoFundMe campaign following his spouse’s murder has been arrested by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office on charges related to the slaying.
Herbert Swilley, a 55-year-old handyman, now faces accusations of committing a heinous crime with a potential financial motive.
The authorities allege that Swilley dosed his spouse, Timothy Smith, 59, with an excessive amount of diphenhydramine, a common ingredient found in allergy medicines like Benadryl and sleep aids like ZzzQuil. To make matters even more gruesome, they claim that he subsequently strangled Smith so violently that he broke his neck.
Suspicion fell on Swilley back in August, prompting a months-long investigation during which evidence of a history of domestic violence emerged, along with allegations of a cover-up attempt.
However, the most startling revelation was the possibility of a significant financial gain for Swilley, as he stood to receive a life insurance payout amounting to $333,000.
The authorities further assert that Swilley staged the crime scene, concealed crucial evidence, and initially pretended to cooperate with the investigation. It is believed that the murder occurred when Swilley discovered that Smith intended to leave him during the late hours of March 23 and 24.
During a March interview with investigators, Swilley provided misleading, false, and contradictory information. Subsequently, when asked for another interview, his attorney insisted that it would only happen if Swilley was granted immunity from prosecution for Smith’s murder.
Interestingly, throughout this ordeal, Swilley had been publicly posting about Smith’s death on Facebook, initially announcing the tragedy and later soliciting over $2,200 in donations through GoFundMe for a “celebration of life.”
Even when the sheriff’s office officially labeled him a “suspect” in August, he maintained an online presence, writing emotional messages in memory of Smith.
The dramatic turn of events culminated in Swilley’s arrest over the weekend. He is now being held without bond in the Marion County Jail, facing charges of first-degree murder and tampering with evidence.
This case serves as a chilling reminder of the complexities that can surround crime, including hidden motives and the misuse of public sympathy for personal gain.