2009-10-01 / News

Tortola may start murder trial of Swain on Monday

David Swain David Swain The murder trial of former Jamestown Town Council member David Swain, accused of drowning his wife while vacationing in Tortola in 1999, is expected to begin on Monday, Oct. 5.

The trial has been delayed three times over the past 18 months as the British Virgin Islands’ courts have allowed Swain to raise funds for his defense and obtain legal counsel.

Swain is charged with murdering his wife, Shelly Arden Tyre, on March 12, 1999 while the couple was scuba diving in BVI territorial waters.

Swain is a Jamestown resident and the former owner of the Ocean State Scuba dive shop on North Main Road. Swain served two terms on the Jamestown Town Council. He was elected to the council post following his wife’s death.

Tyre’s drowning death was originally ruled an accident by BVI authorities and the case was closed. Tyre’s parents, Richard and Lisa Tyre, now of Canton, Mass., hired Warwick attorney J. Renn Olenn to investigate the case in the BVI.

Olenn worked for a year and amassed enough evidence, although circumstantial, to warrant a wrongful death lawsuit in 2002. The case went to trial in 2006 and the Rhode Island Superior Court found Swain responsible for Tyre’s death. The court awarded Tyre’s family more than $5 million in compensation.

Swain appealed the case and lost his bid to overturn the wrongful death verdict in 2007.

The verdict in the wrongful death lawsuit prompted BVI offi- cials to re-open the case concerning Tyre’s death. In November of 2007, almost nine years after Tyre died, federal marshals presented Swain with a murder warrant from Tortola, and arrested him at his Jamestown dive shop.

Swain was extradited to the Virgin Islands on Feb. 13, 2008. He has remained in prison in Tortola since then.

The Jamestown Press will have updates posted online at www. JamestownPress.com.

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