Monday, September 30, 2013
Former Rockwall man convicted of murdering girlfriend
Gregory Shane Bailey was sentenced to life in prison for the death of Sarah Lindsey Swaim.
SHERMAN Former Rockwall County father Gregory Shane Bailey was found guilty Friday by a Grayson County jury of murdering 22-year-old Sarah Lindsey Swaim, his live-in girlfriend and the mother of their now 2-year-old daughter.
Bailey, 31, was then sentenced to life in prison, plus required to pay a $10,000 fine.
Bailey, Swaim and their two young children lived in Rockwall County for about six months prior to May 2011, when they moved to Bells, Texas, in Grayson County, and, after their eviction, to Sherman in January 2012.
Throughout the week-long trial that brought out the details of what prosecutors say was an abusive relationship that led to a brutal and savage murder, Swaim maintained his innocence.
But according to KXII-TV News 12, he changed his account of what happened, from saying she went missing to finding her lifeless body in the bedroom of their Sherman home. Then, with their 2-year-old daughter with him, he said he wrapped Swaim’s body in trash bags and carpet, and dumped her in a brush pile in Denison.
Bailey cried on the stand, saying, “I loved Sarah and I feel so terrible for taking her out there like that, but I did not kill her.”
In closing arguments, the prosecution discussed exactly what they say happened in the home on that night, saying, “Domestic violence is a dirty little secret that happens behind closed doors. Sarah Swaim died an ugly death and was treated like trash.”
According to the Sherman Herald Democrat newspaper:
“during his statements to police, Bailey repeatedly said Swaim left their house at a trailer home park in Sherman after an evening of doing shots turned into an argument over finances. He said as his head hit the pillow, he heard the door slam and thought she was just going down the street.
“Jurors also heard, Tuesday, from people who lived near the young couple at the park. Neighbors told stories of loud, profane arguments that erupted in the wee hours of the night and repeated calls to the police.
“Cecelia Howe said she lived near the couple and used to occasionally speak to Ms. Swaim but didn’t know her well. What Howe did know, she said, was the couple’s relationship troubles.
“You could hear him scream at her in the middle of the street,” Howe said. She said she once saw Bailey scream at the mother of his two youngest children in the middle of the street at 3 a.m.
“I had had enough,” the woman told prosecutors and the jury. She said another time she looked outside to find out what all of the noise was about and saw that Bailey had Swaim by the hair and appeared to be attempting to drag her back into the house. Swaim, Howe said, was pregnant at the time.
“I ran out and got in his face,” she said. Howe said Bailey backed down and went into the house, and Ms. Swaim walked away.
“After that, Howe said, Ms. Swaim wouldn’t ‘even raise her head or look at me.’
“Howe said she saw Ms. Swaim wearing black and blue bruises and a split lip."
Members of Swaim’s family spoke after the trial and told News 12 they felt justice was served and Bailey got what he deserved for the man they said “sucked the spirit out of her.”
There were hugs and tears of joy as Swaim’s family left the courtroom for the last time.
“He deserves it, he does,” Swaim’s cousin Mary Mahoney said. “And like the day I knew she was missing, I said, ‘What did he do with her?’ I knew he did something.”
Mahoney says she reached out to Swaim about the abuse.
“Like I seen her and asked her where she got her bruises from and she said she told me that she got drunk and fell down. You can’t help somebody, because I’ve been in an abusive relationship, and you can’t help somebody that doesn’t want help,” Mahoney said.
“Very emotional. It’s been a very long week. Found out a lot of information that we hadn’t known over the last seven or eight months. Just now that it’s over, I’m rejoiced. These are tears of joy. Real tears of joy,” cousin Sunday Medlin said.
“I truly hope that he gets everything that he’s dished out throughout these relationships while he’s in prison, by people that are bigger and badder and more of a man than he is,” relative Chad Warner said.
A custody trial is set for Monday to decide who gets custody of their two children.
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