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Swinford Trial Begins Today 2/6/2012
Jury selection began this morning in the retrial of Steven Swinford, whose first trial for the killing of his friend Paul Raney ended with a hung jury last October.
Chelan County jurors will be asked whether Swinford, now 21, committed second-degree murder when he shot Raney in Manson over a year ago on January 28th, 2011.
Paul Raney, 22, died from seven gunshots to the chest and abdomen from Swinford’s .45-caliber pistol.
The evidence isn’t expected to change, but testimony may differ somewhat as some ne experts are brought in to try to explain what happened that night.
Swinford admitted to the shooting and called 911 immediately after the shooting took place.
Swinford’s roommate, Steven Flick, is expected to testify again that Swinford shot Raney unprovoked after a night of drinking.
But Swinford now claims that Raney was reaching for another pistol close at hand and Swinford fired- with his eyes closed- to avoid being shot himself.
Swinford’s public defender, Jeremy Ford, cast doubt on Flick’s eyewitness testimony, saying a transcribed police interview contradicted Flick’s claim that he didn’t see Raney with a gun.
Jurors have the option to convict Swinford on lesser first- or second-degree manslaughter charges but a conviction requires unanimous jury- something jurors were unable to agree on last fall.
Swinford has been jailed since his arrest on $1 million bail.
Superior Court Judge T.W. “Chip” Small oversaw the first trial, but due to court scheduling, the retrial- set to begin today- will be heard by Judge Lesley Allan.
Listen to part of Swinford's 911 call:
"CLICK HERE" for Audio