A Florida man is facing a first-degree murder charge following the death of his husband in March potentially tied to a $333,000 life insurance inheritance.
According to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, detectives arrested Herbert Swilley, 55, last Friday following an investigation into the death of 59-year-old Timothy Smith.
“Initially, Swilley pretended to be cooperative with law enforcement and provided them with a preliminary statement but the investigation revealed that many of the things Swilley told investigators were false, self-serving, or contradicted by other evidence,” the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said in a post on Facebook.
Swilley is also facing a felony charge of tampering with evidence in a criminal proceeding, according to online court records cited by FOX 35 Orlando.
On March 25, police were called to an apartment in Ocala to conduct a well-being check on Smith, who did not show up for work the day before.
After entering the unit, officers found Smith dead. Investigators noted the victim had a dark mark on his neck and blunt-force trauma to his face and genitalia.
Following an investigation, police say on the night of the March 23 or morning of March 24 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,” police said.
Investigators allege Swilley, who was considered a suspect throughout the investigation, murdered Smith by choking him to death and fracturing his cervical spine.
The accused then transported the victim’s body in his vehicle to a nearby apartment they shared and maintained, police say. He then placed the body inside the apartment, staged a fake crime scene, and attempted to destroy evidence.
Cops allege Smith had previously suffered domestic abuse by Swilley. The victim was also close to securing a new job in another county and was planning to relocate there without his husband, police added.
Investigators also revealed Swilley stood to inherit $333,000 following Smith’s death as he was listed as the beneficiary of the victim’s life insurance policies.
After detectives sought to interview Swilley a second time due to inconsistencies in his initial statement to police, Swilley’s attorney said he would only cooperate if he was provided with immunity from prosecution for Smith’s murder.
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