Youell Swinney

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Youell Lee Swinney (March 9, 1917, Arkansas – September 15, 1994, Dallas, Texas)[1][2][3] was the only major suspect in the Phantom Killer case in Texarkana, Texas and Texarkana, Arkansas in 1946, although he was never officially charged with any of the murders.

Swinney was a known thief with a history of assault and auto-theft. He was linked to the murders mostly by statements made by his wife, who refused to testify against him in court. Two of the lead investigators in the murders, Max Tackett and Tillman Johnson, believed for the remainder of their lives that Swinney had actually been the killer.

Swinney was convicted of auto-theft in 1947 and as a repeat offender [4] he received life in prison. However, he was released from prison in 1973 following a habeas corpus proceeding which found that a prior conviction in 1941 used for sentence enhancement purposes was void because Swinney had not been represented by counsel.[5] Investigation into his involvement in the murders eventually faded away. The case remains unsolved, and physical evidence is nearly nonexistent today. There are no records available to confirm or deny whether Swinney's fingerprints matched those found at one of the crime scenes.

Swinney grew up in rural Cleveland County, Arkansas, the son of a Baptist minister.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ancestry.com. Social Security Death Index [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006.
  2. ^ U.S. Census, January 1, 1920, State of Arkansas, County of Cleveland, enumeration district 25, p. 2-A, family 27.
  3. ^ Ancestry.com. Texas Death Index, 1903-2000 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006.
  4. ^ Ex parte Swinney, 499 S.W.2d 101, 102 (Tex.Cr.App. 1973).
  5. ^ Ex parte Swinney, 499 S.W.2d 101 (Tex.Cr.App. 1973).
  6. ^ U.S. Census, January 1, 1920, State of Arkansas, County of Cleveland, enumeration district 25, p. 2-A, family 27.

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