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Monday, January 30, 2012

Jeremiah Swafford's Killer, Dwight Justice Not Guilty Of Murder Only Abuse! WHITE Justice!

Dwight Justice, Jeremiah Swafford's Killer Found Only Guilty of Child Abuse, Not 1st-Degree Murder

A Cleveland County jury this morning found Dwight Justice guilty of felony child abuse, but not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of his 2-year-old stepson.

Justice, 45, was charged with first-degree murder and felony child abuse in Jeremiah Swafford's beating death. A medical examiner has testified that the boy died Feb. 14, 2009, from blunt-force trauma to his head.

His wife, Kathy Lynn Swafford, was also charged with first-degree murder and felony child abuse and will be tried in March.

A former jail inmate testifying for the defense last week in Justice's trial said that Swafford had admitted behind bars she'd caused the fatal injuries to the toddler.

Jeanette Bonner of Shelby testified Swafford described how she'd picked Jeremiah up by his feet and slammed his head into a wooden part of a couch.

"She asked me, 'What do you think they'll do with me?' " Bonner testified. "When I told her she'd probably spend the rest of her life in prison, she said if she was going to spend the rest of her in prison so was he (Justice.)"

Thirty minutes later, Bonner said Swafford came up with another story - this time that her husband had killed the toddler.

Outside the presence of the jury, Swafford was called to the witness stand by Justice's attorney. After her attorney, Fred Flowers of Shelby, and Superior Court Judge Robert Ervin provided reminders of her Fifth Amendment rights, Swafford said she didn't want to testify.

During closing arguments on Wednesday, Cleveland County Assistant District Attorney Bill Young told the jury that under the law Justice is guilty of aiding and abetting even if he didn't physically harm Jeremiah.

Young told the jury Justice has "never got his story straight."

Young played audio clips to illustrate Justice's inconsistencies in interviews with law enforcement officers.

Young reminded the jury Justice had said he was awakened by his wife around noon on Feb. 13 and found Jeremiah unresponsive in bed. But the 911 call wasn't made until 1:17 p.m.

"What was going on?" Young asked. "The cleanup. The coverup."

The jury began its deliberations late Wednesday.

On Thursday afternoon, the foreman told the judge the jury was divided 8-4. Throughout the afternoon the jury came back asking for more instruction, clarifications on points of law and transcripts of interviews with Justice that had been introduced into evidence. They also asked to see a transcript of a statement made by Jeanette Bonner.

Shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday, Superior Court Judge Robert Ervin called the jury back and explained he couldn't be in court on Friday because of a prior commitment. He gave the panel the choice of continuing deliberations then, taking a short break for food and coming back or recessing until Monday. The jury picked the last option.

Trial continues for man accused of murdering 2-year-old step-son

Testimony continued Thursday in the murder case of 2-year-old Jeremiah Swafford.

Police say his stepfather, Dwight Justice, beat him to death in February 2009.

"I'm still numb…He's gone, but he's not forgotten," said Jeremiah’s aunt, Patty Crotts. "I think he was beat to death.”

Crotts and Swafford’s other aunt, Donna Willis, say sitting through the trial of his accused murderer brings all the pain back.

“He don't have no look of remorse, no look of nothing," said Willis.

Justice, Jeremiah's stepfather, is on trial for murder and child abuse after the state claimed the toddler was beaten to death in February of 2009 while at home with Justice and Jeremiah's mother, Kathy Swafford, who is still in jail awaiting her trial.

Swafford told emergency workers Justice fell out of bed earlier in the day and then became unresponsive later, but the state presented medical professionals who treated Jeremiah and say he had severe internal bleeding.

"Kids fall out of bed every day, but this child's injuries were consistent to much greater force, much greater trauma than to fall out of bed," said Dr. Paul Pindell with Shelby Emergency Associates.

The defense spent the day cross-examining each witness, trying to poke holes in the state's case that Jeremiah suffered bruises and trauma by the defendant, not a fall from the bed.

"They want to make the doctors and lawyers out to be not telling the truth. The paramedics are the ones who responded on the scene, they know what went on," added Crotts.

The state will continue its case Friday morning. Swafford is awaiting her trial in a Cleveland County jail. She is expected to testify at some point in Justice's trial.

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Sources: ABC News, McClatchy Newspapers, WCNC, WRAL, Google Maps

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