By Alyssa Schnugg
David Lee Swims Jr. was found guilty Thursday of shooting and killing his wife, Anteeatta “Tee” Archie Swims, after the jury returned a verdict of guilty of second-degree murder, also known as depraved heart murder in Mississippi.
The jury deliberated for about three hours after the prosecution and defense attorneys presented their closing arguments, ending just before noon.
At about 3 p.m., everyone was called back into the courtroom to await the jury’s announcement. After receiving word the jury was returning with a verdict, Tee Swims’ family formed a circle outside of the courthouse and held hands while they prayed.
The jury was given three possible findings: first-degree murder, or deliberate design murder; second-degree, or depraved heart murder; or manslaughter on the basis of imperfect self-defense.
Swims will be sentenced at a later date during a sentencing hearing, possibly in October. In Mississippi, second-degree murder comes with a possible 20-to-40-year prison sentence.
Swims, who has been out on bond for the last two years, was remanded into the custody of the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department after the verdict was handed down.
Tee Swims was shot three times after a heated argument by her husband, who claims he pulled the trigger in self-defense after his wife lunged at him with a knife. She had a wound to the chest, a wound to her right hip area, and a wound to the left thigh.
“Three times is not self-defense,” Assistant District Attorney Steven Jubera told the jury during his closing arguments. “He aimed, and he shot her three times. She was shot in the side. If she was coming at (Swims) she would have been shot in the front.”
Tee, a teacher with the South Panola School District, was found in the house she shared with her husband in The Lakes on June 11, 2021. Two days after she was killed, Swims remained in the house with his wife’s lifeless body for more than two days before calling 911.
Swims’ attorney, Mitchell Driskell, told the jury that the prosecution had failed to disprove that his client acted in self-defense. Swims, who is in a wheelchair, said when his wife lunged at him, he went back and flinched, causing the gun to go off.
“Being in a wheelchair, he couldn’t flee. He couldn’t run out of the way,” Driskell said. “He couldn’t turn on a dime to get away.”
The state argued that Swims committed first-degree murder, while Swims’ attorney argued for manslaughter. By their verdict of second-degree murder, the jury ultimately decided Swims did not act in self-defense but that the shooting was not premeditated.