Orleans man suspected of second degree murder

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copyright the Chronicle May 17, 2018

ORLEANS — State Police obtained an arrest warrant Wednesday evening for Randall Swartz, 58, of Orleans, who is suspected of murder in the shooting death of his wife, Thea Swartz, 54. Mr. Swartz is currently at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, undergoing treatment for a gunshot wound.

A press release from State Police spokesman Adam Silverman said Mr. Swartz is being sought for suspicion of second-degree murder. Mr. Silverman said Mr. Swartz is in stable condition and expected to live.

At a press conference held at the State Police barracks in Derby Wednesday afternoon, Captain Dan Trudeau, Commander of the State Police Major Crimes Unit, said Ms. Swartz called 911 around 9:27 p.m. Tuesday.

She told the dispatcher that Mr. Swartz had been drinking and was pointing a pistol at her, he said. Captain Trudeau said the dispatcher heard a shot and, after a pause of about four minutes, another shot.

Troopers rushed to the Swartzs’ house on Irasburg Street and looked inside. When they saw Mr. Swartz lying on the floor the officers went inside.

He was alive, but had a gunshot wound in his torso, Captain Trudeau said. Ms. Swartz was in the same room. She had a single gunshot wound, and police said she was dead.

Captain Trudeau said he had not visited the Swartz’ home and could not describe the scene to reporters. He said members of the Major Crimes Unit were at the house collecting evidence.

A large State Police truck was at the Swartz home Wednesday afternoon, several cruisers were parked across the street and the front yard was marked with yellow crime scene tape.

Mr. Swartz was taken to North Country Hospital and from there airlifted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock. Captain Trudeau said he muttered a few words, but did not make any kind of statement.

He said a Vermont trooper is stationed at the New Hampshire hospital in case Mr. Swartz does want to speak, but said he believes the wounded man has a tracheotomy tube in his throat.

New Hampshire law enforcement officers are cooperating in the case, the captain said.

At the press conference, Captain Trudeau was hesitant to say what caused Ms. Swartz’s death without receiving a report from the medical examiner.

The announcement of the arrest warrant, which said Mr. Swartz is suspected of second-degree murder, suggests the report showed the gunshot wound killed Ms. Swartz. While police can file affidavits stating facts they believe support a particular charge, actual criminal charges are determined by prosecutors.

As of Thursday morning, Orleans County State’s Attorney Jennifer Barrett had not said what she plans to do.

Captain Trudeau said he knows of no prior complaints of domestic abuse against Mr. Swartz.

Mr. Swartz was the subject of an investigation into embezzlement from the Cabot Cooperative Creamery, where he formerly worked as maintenance supervisory. No charges have been filed against him in that case.

On March 10, 2017, FBI agents searched Mr. Swartz’s house and workshop, according to a filing with U.S. District Court in Burlington. FBI Special Agent Patrick Hanna asked for the warrant to look for financial records that might show Mr. Swartz had ordered equipment that Cabot paid for but did not receive.

Special Agent Hanna said Mr. Swartz was suspected of converting the equipment into reverse osmosis units and selling them to sugarmakers.

In a second affidavit detailing what was found at Mr. Swartz’s house, Special Agent Hanna said the only evidence of manufacturing was a collection of stainless steel fittings, valves, pipes, and a pump.

He said police seized a large number of financial documents, two computers, and computer discs.

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