(HorizonPost.com) – After a monthslong investigation, the Marion County, Florida Sheriff’s Office last Friday arrested 55-year-old Herbert Swilley for allegedly murdering his husband and attempting to cover it up, WCJB in Gainsville reported.
Deputies arrested and charged Swilley with first-degree premeditated murder and tampering with evidence in the March 2023 death of his husband, 59-year-old Timothy Smith.
Smith was found dead at an apartment in Ocala when deputies conducted a wellness check after he failed to show up for work the day before. Smith had suffered trauma wounds to his face and genitals and had a dark mark on his neck.
Investigators later determined that Smith had been given a large dose of diphenhydramine, the ingredient in the allergy medication Benadryl. After he was drugged, a ligature was used to choke him, causing a fracture to his cervical spine.
According to investigators, Swilley allegedly took Smith’s lifeless body from their home to the apartment where his body was found, which was a secondary residence the couple used for inappropriate liaisons with others. Once in the apartment, Swilley staged the crime scene.
Doorbell camera footage from the night of the murder was missing, according to investigators. Hours after killing his husband, Swilley took two carpets from their home and drove them to a landfill.
Swilley initially cooperated with law enforcement when the investigation began. However, over the course of the investigation, detectives discovered that much of what he told them was false. When confronted with his lies, Swilley’s lawyer said he would only cooperate if he received immunity from prosecution.
Investigators also learned that Smith had been previously abused by Swilley and planned to leave him. He took a job in another county and intended to relocate there alone.
As the listed beneficiary on Smith’s life insurance policies, Swilley stood to receive $333,000 from the murder.
Sheriff’s Lt. Paul Bloom described Swilley’s arrest as a win for Smith’s family and friends, “and ultimately for the victim.”
Swilley was remanded to Marion County Jail with no bond.
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