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Prosecution, Defense Rest in Swims Murder Trial; Closing Argument Set for Thursday Morning

By Alyssa Schnugg

News editor


With both the prosecution and defense resting their cases Wednesday, closing arguments in the murder trial of David Lee Swims, are expected to begin Thursday morning at the Lafayette County Courthouse.

Swims, 43, is charged with murder in the shooting death of his wife, Anteeatta “Tee” Archie Swims, a teacher in the South Panola School District, in June 2021.

David Swims, right, talks to his attorney during his trial Wednesday. Photo by Alyssa Schnugg

After testimony from several law enforcement officers and Medical Examiner Mark LeVaugh Wednesday morning, Swims took the stand.

He testified that he and Tee had been having marital problems, claiming both he and his wife had been unfaithful, but they had agreed to work things out. The two were staying in the same home in The Lakes in Lafayette County, but were sleeping in different bedrooms.

Swims, who is in a wheelchair due to an accident several years ago, said he went into the room where his wife was sleeping at about 7:30 a.m. to get his shoes.

He testified that they argued and exchanged heated words after Swims started showing his wife videos and playing audio of him having sex with her sister in 2018. He said Tee pushed him and threatened him with a knife.

He said he picked up a gun, that he claims his wife left near the bed, to warn her because he didn’t know what she would do next. He placed it on his lap and continued to show her the videos, despite seeing that Tee was “very upset.”

He claimed his wife lunged at him again, and he tipped back in his wheelchair, and the gun went off three times.

“When someone comes at you like they’re going to hit you, you kind of brace yourself. That’s what I did,” he said. “I didn’t really mean to … I was just trying to stop her.”

Swims testified that he tried to get to his wife to help her and attempted to drag her body out of the small bathroom so he could resuscitate her. He said he tried to resuscitate her for about 2 minutes.

He didn’t call 911.

He remained in the house with his wife’s lifeless body for two days. He told the jury he was in shock, afraid, and didn’t know what to do.

He placed a blanket over her body and claimed to have put panties on her to protect her dignity because he didn’t want the police to find her naked.

“I loved her to death,” he said during his testimony. “I was in shock. I had never shot anyone before. It was a tragic occurrence.”

Swims said he only removed the gun casings off the floor because they got stuck in his wheelchair. He claimed he took several sleeping pills that night in hopes of not waking up.

“I wanted to shoot myself, but I couldn’t do it,” he said.

Prior to Swims taking the stand, LeVaughn said Tee Swims was shot three times – once in the chest, once in the hip and once in the thigh.

Swims’ attorney, Mitchell Driskell, motioned twice to the court for a direct verdict, claiming the prosecution had failed to prove its case. Both times, Circuit Court Judge Gray Tollison denied the motion.

Court will start back up at 8:30 a.m. with motions and jury instructions, and closing arguments. The jury was told to be back in the courtroom by 9:30 a.m.

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