08/15/05 — Manhunt continues for suspect

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Manhunt continues for suspect

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on August 15, 2005 1:52 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Police are still looking for a man wanted in connection with the June shooting death of a 22-year-old woman.

Mount Olive police and the Goldsboro-Wayne Crime Stoppers are offering a total of $1,000 reward for information leading to the capture of Richard Lee Swinson, 26, who is wanted for questioning in connection with the June 30 murder of Jennifer Louise McArthur of Fairview Circle. She died from gunshot wounds after the shooting, which occurred at a home she was visiting in Mount Olive.

Ms. McArthur was acquainted with the suspect and the woman he was attempting to shoot, Police Chief Emmett Ballree said this morning.

"It was the worst case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time," Ballree said. When asked if he thought Swinson would try again, he said, "I hope he'd not be that stupid. I think the intended victim has moved out of the area."

Swinson, who is wanted on one count of murder and two counts of discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling, should be considered armed and dangerous. The murder weapon was some kind of high-powered rifle, Ballree said. Shots came from outside, piercing the walls in the apartment and continuing into the apartment next door. Five people were inside the first apartment, including an 8-year-old child who was up and moving around, and four people next door, including two sleeping children.

The investigation is pretty much complete, and police are waiting for some lab work to arrive from the State Bureau of Investigation in Raleigh.

"We consider the case pretty much solved," Ballree said. "It's just a matter of capturing him and getting ready for trial. There's always a chance he'll turn himself in."

He added the pressure will increase on Swinson the longer he waits to turn himself into police.

Ballree said early in the investigation, he hoped Swinson's friends or family members would call, but he believes now that somebody is helping hide him.

"We haven't received any tips in the last couple weeks," Ballree said.

Anyone who knows the whereabouts of the suspect should call the police at 658-5031 or Wayne County Crime Stoppers at 735-2255.

"When we released his information and the papers ran a picture and announced we were offering the reward, we got a lot of tips," Ballree said. "We got close to him several times."

Ballree said he believes Swinson is still in the Wayne County area and keeping a low profile. He said he's sure some family members have tried to convince Swinson to turn himself into police.

"That would be the best thing for all involved."