Orleans man to be sentenced for wife’s 2018 murder

Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 11:47 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2023 at 4:54 PM EST
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NEWPORT, Vt. (WCAX) - An Orleans man who pleaded guilty to the 2018 murder of his wife was in a Newport courtroom Thursday for the first part of what is expected to be a two-day sentencing hearing.

Police say Randall Swartz shot his wife in the chest in their home while she called 911 for help. They say he then shot himself in the torso but survived.

Swartz was originally charged with first-degree murder but pleaded guilty earlier this year to second-degree murder. Prosecutors on Thursday questioned his wife’s family members about the history of their relationship, specifically in the days leading up to her murder.

Bailey Swartz, Thea’s daughter, was among the witnesses who spoke about Swartz’s history of abuse and drinking habits. She says she was traumatized by her father from an early age. “Manipulative, arrogant, nasty, cruel, mean,” she said.

Since his arrest, Swartz was also convicted of federal mail fraud. Prosecutors say he stole more than $400,000 while working at Agri-Mark’s cheesemaking plant in Cabot and that he used the funds to get parts for maple reverse osmosis equipment through the mail, which he then sold in a side business.

The sentencing hearing will continue in Orleans County Court on Friday morning.

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