Guilty plea in Carriage House Apartments murder in Spindale

Carriage House Apartments in Spindale, N.C.

Aryn Johnson of Rutherfordton, then 23, of Maple Creek Road in Rutherfordton, pled guilty to one count of Class B1 second-degree murder in the death of James Clyde Swofford last week. In Superior Court Judge Tommy Davis sentenced Johnson to a minimum of 21 years to a maximum of 26 years, 3 months of active prison time.

Spindale Police Chief Eric Shelton

On a police welfare check on Nov. 2, 2015, Swofford was found dead in his Carriage House apartment in Spindale. 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.

Sworn testimony in court revealed Swofford’s death was caused by a gunshot wound to his head and he was shot in the abdomen as well. The motive for the break-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 his friend, Aryn Johnson, to join the planned robbery at gunpoint.

Tyler Bowman being led away at the Rutherford County Courthouse.

Bowman pled guilty in Oct. 2017 to second-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon. Bowman was sentenced to a minimum of 42 years in prison.