Man charged in 2011 murder of his wife, Karen Swift, behind bars without bond

Man who committed first-degree murder of his wife back in 2011 has been arrested.
Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 10:23 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2022 at 7:02 AM CDT

DYERSBURG, Tenn. (WMC) - A step forward in solving a decade-long, Mid-South murder mystery.

David Swift faced a Dyer County judge Wednesday morning, less than 48 hours after his arrest in Alabama. He faces a first-degree murder charge in the death of his wife, Karen, who disappeared back in 2011, and her body was found a few months later.

David Swift signed an affidavit of indigency in court, legal language, meaning right now he doesn’t have the money to hire a private defense attorney. He shuffled into the courtroom in a bright yellow prison jumpsuit, hands shackled to his waist. And when the judge asked Swift if he could afford to hire his own attorney, Swift replied: “I’m not certain based on my economic situation.”

Swift was arrested Aug. 8, in Alabama, where he now lives with his new wife. Earlier that day, a Dyer County grand jury indicted him on pre-meditated first-degree murder charges in Karen Swift’s death.

The mother of four was reported missing on October 30, 2011, after returning home from a Halloween party.

Swift was reportedly the last person to see her alive.

On December 10, 2011, her body was found in a cemetery not far from her home. The coroner says she died from blunt force trauma to the head and had multiple fractures.

“We advised Mr. Swift of the charges that had been filed against him by the grand jury,” said Dyer County District Attorney General Danny Goodman. “And he was appointed an attorney. He, at this time, was appointed the public defender’s office to represent him.”

Swift pleaded not guilty to the murder charge. His public defender asked for at least 30 days to study the documents in the case.

Swift is behind bars, held without bond, though a bond hearing may be scheduled at a later date.

“We’re glad that we’re actually moving forward at this point,” said Goodman. “It’s good to see the process has started and that we’re going to be able to move forward and have justice for the family.”

Investigators say Karen was planning on divorcing Swift. If he’s convicted, he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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