SPINDALE, N.C. — On Monday 24-year-old Tyler Cameron Bowman pled guilty to 2nd degree murder, conspiracy to commit 1st degree murder, and armed robbery at the home of James Clyde Swofford, 67, at Carriage House Apartments in Spindale. The incident occurred almost 2 years ago on Nov. 2.
Superior Court Judge Jeff Hunt honoring a plea arrangement between prosecutor Ted Bell and defense attorney John Painter and accepted by the defendant, sentenced Bowman to a minimum of 42 years in prison. His sentences will run consecutively. Bowman was given credit for his two years in jail.
The charges stem from a welfare check for Swofford at his home. The Spindale Police officer found James Clyde Swofford, 67, dead inside the apartment. Due to “circumstances” surrounding the death, Spindale Police Chief Eric Shelton called in the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation along with the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office.
Co-defendant Aryn William Johnson, 23, of Maple Creek Road in Rutherfordton will be tried at a future date.
Sworn testimony in court revealed Swofford’s death was caused by a gunshot wound to his head and was shot in the abdomen as well. The motive for the breaking in to the elderly mentally handicapped man’s apartment was robbery.
Bowman, a neighbor of Swofford who was known to sell bootleg cds and kept cash in his home, solicited a friend to join the planned robbery at gunpoint. Swofford was shot in the face and lower torso.
Cathy Swofford Carroll spoke on the family’s behalf and Swofford’s friends and family. She said that she knew “the 67-year-old man could be difficult at times, but he did not deserve to die for any amount of money.” Carroll also thanked the district attorney and the District Attorney’s victim assistant for their efforts. Carroll, her sisters, and Swofford’s daughter were in the courtroom.
Defense attorney Painter spoke on the defendant’s behalf stating the he was not raised like this. Bowman had attended N.C. State for 1 1/2 years and worked 3 jobs. However steroids, Xanax and drinking had affected his judgement. Bowmen’s parents were in the courtroom.
Painter also stated for the record that the voluminous discovery of approximately 28,000 pages was shared with the defendant.
Bowman was taken to a holding cell when his case was completed.