Florida Man Accused of Husband’s Brutal Murder Allegedly Staged Fake Crime Scene to Collect Life Insurance


A Florida man accused of killing his husband allegedly staged a fake crime scene so he could reap the benefits of his deceased spouse’s life insurance.

Police first named Herbert Swilley as a suspect in Timothy Smith’s murder in early August, after Swilley refused to give evidence unless he could have immunity. 

Smith, 59, a community activist in Marion County, Florida, was last seen leaving work on March 23, according to the sheriff’s office. After Smith failed to show up to work the following day, deputies conducted a wellness check. 

Upon arriving at an apartment owned by Smith and Swilley, deputies found his body, which showed signs that he was violently attacked before his death.

“Timothy had a dark ligature mark on his neck and blunt-force trauma to his face and genitalia,” the sheriff’s office shared in a Facebook post.

At some point on March 23 and 24, Smith was given more than 30 times the normal dosage of diphenhydramine (the generic name for Benadryl – which makes users feel drowsy.) 

“Following that, Swilley murdered Timothy by choking him to death with an unknown ligature and fracturing his cervical spine,” the sheriff’s office said.

Swilley stands handcuffed against a windowSwilley stands handcuffed against a window
Herbert Swilley was arrested on charges of premeditated murder in the first degree and tampering with evidence.Marion County Sheriff’s Office

Police allege that Swilley then moved White’s body from the couple’s home, to an apartment that they maintained. Once inside the apartment, police say that Swilley staged a crime scene and used household cleaning products to conceal evidence.

Investigators say that Smith, who had allegedly experienced domestic violence at the hands of Swilley, had almost secured a new job and was planning to move away from Swilley.

“Investigators also uncovered that Swilley stood to profit from Timothy’s death, as he was listed as the beneficiary of Timothy’s life insurance policies, which totaled $333,000.00,” the Marion County Sheriff’s Office wrote. 

Additionally, after Smith was found dead, Swilley collected over $2,000 from a GoFundMe, to pay for the funeral.

In the early stages of the investigation, the deputies interviewed Swilley and his daughter, Jordan. Following the preliminary interviews, both Swilleys refused to cooperate with the police. 

Herbert Swilley’s attorney subsequently told detectives that he would only speak with them if he was given immunity from being prosecuted, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. 

Swilley was arrested Friday on charges of premeditated murder in the first degree and tampering with evidence.

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