2011-10-06 / Front Page

Swain freed from Tortola prison after murder conviction overturned


DAVID SWAIN DAVID SWAIN The murder conviction of David Swain, a former Jamestown Town Council member and local dive shop owner, was overturned last week by an appeals court in the British Virgin Islands.

Swain has reportedly returned to Rhode Island.

Swain was sentenced to 25 years in a Tortola prison in 2009 after he was found guilty by a jury of murdering his wife, Shelley Arden Tyre, a decade earlier. Swain has always maintained his innocence in her death.

On Sept. 29, a panel of three appeals court judges ordered Swain released after reporting that it found unacceptable the instructions that were read to the jury by the judge in the 2009 trial. The appeals panel did not order a new trial, expressing its concern about the length of time that had passed since Tyre’s death and said it would be difficult to recall defense witnesses.

Swain had been accused of drowning his second wife in 1999 while the two were scuba diving during a vacation in Tortola.

Swain filed for bankruptcy after a Rhode Island civil suit judgment in 2006 awarded $3.5 million to Tyre’s family. Swain’s children are now seeking to have the Rhode Island Supreme Court overturn an earlier decision blocking them from receiving any inheritance from their stepmother’s estate.

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