Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Murder trial underway for former Rockwall County man accused of killing girlfriend
Gregory Shane Bailey was indicted by a grand jury for murder in mid-April and has been behind bars in Grayson Co. jail since then on a $500,000 bond.
SHERMAN The murder trial for a former Rockwall County father charged with killing his girlfriend, who previously lived with him in Rockwall County and was the mother of their young daughter, began Monday in the 15th District Court, with Judge James P. Fallon presiding.
Gregory Shane Bailey, 31, was arrested Feb. 8 by Sherman Police after the body of Sarah Lindsey Swaim, 22, was discovered in a wooded section of rural Grayson County the day before.
According to police, Bailey reported that Swaim was missing Feb. 7, but evidence found inside her residence the next day provided probable cause to believe that Bailey had murdered her. After obtaining a warrant, detectives arrested him that same afternoon at his residence in Denison and he was booked into the jail on murder charges. He was indicted by a grand jury for murder in mid-April and has been behind bars in Grayson Co. jail since then on a $500,000 bond.
The couple lived in Rockwall County for about six months prior to May 2011, when they moved to Bells, Texas, in Grayson County. After their eviction, they moved to Sherman in January 2012.
Bailey’s family released a statement shortly after his arrest defending him:
“We love and support Shane and have faith in his innocence. Shane and Sarah had a very good relationship. They were very happy. They have two beautiful children together. We have the utmost confidence in our law enforcement here and know they will soon find evidence that leads them to the person that really did this.”
But a statement by a former Rockwall/Hunt County CPS worker who worked with the family for one and a half years, Sarah Francis Depew, suggests otherwise.
She told TheRockwallNews.com recently that she was well-acquainted with Swaim and Bailey because she had been involved with them at least weekly between April 11, 2011 – when their two-month old daughter was removed from their home – and Dec. 6-11, 2012, when she then had trial with them in the 439th District Court of Rockwall Co. presided over by Judge David Rakow.
She is scheduled to testify in the murder trial this week and said she believes he is guilty.
At that time of the trial she said it was the opinion of CPS, CASA and the Attorney Ad Litem that their daughter should not be returned to their home due to concerns about domestic violence, unstable housing, criminal activity, parental interest and non-compliance with the family service plan. She said they’d missed more than a third of their CPS visits without rescheduling with her.
She added that the child had been removed after Bailey and Swaim “were coming down off of cocaine and got in a physical fight, resulting in them striking the the two-month old little girl in the face.”
Depew explained that CPS did not seek permanent removal because their hope was that Swaim would soon leave Bailey and could become a more responsible mother.
But she said despite the objections of Depew, CASA caseworker Tish Verde and Guardian Ad Litem Ted Samsom, Judge Rakow ruled that the then one-and-a-half-year-old girl be returned to her parents from the safety of her home of her maternal great-grandmother in Plano, where she had lived since she was two months old.
After the December 2012, trial, the child was returned to her parents on or around Jan. 13, 2013. Less than a month later, her mother was found dead and her father arrested for her mother’s murder. The now two-year-old girl is again living with her maternal great-grandmother in Plano.
Depew said none of the experts understood why Judge Rakow ruled against their expert testimonies, and called his decision “baffling.” She said she believes that Judge Rakow and all judges should be better educated about domestic violence and child abuse.
“I am currently going through the trial transcripts and will be writing a letter to Judge Rakow asking that he commit to taking every single opportunity to learn more about domestic violence available to him,” she explained. “Some of his statements in trial make me very concerned about his understanding of the subject and his ability to make good rulings to protect the children of Rockwall County.”
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