Swims murder trial slated for September

Published 6:15 am Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Teacher was killed in June 2021

The murder trial of a Grenada man accused of killing his wife more than two years ago at their Oxford home has been scheduled for the September term of the Lafayette County Circuit Clerk.

David Lee Swims, 43, was charged in the murder of Anteeatta Swims, a LEAD teacher at Batesville Elementary School, on June 11, 2021. According to the indictment, police believe Mrs. Swims was killed on or about June 9.

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Batesville school officials and Mrs. Swims’ family had contacted Oxford police when she wasn’t at work and when they had been unable to reach her on the phone. Mr. Swims reportedly answered the door when police arrived at the house located at 204 Spring Lake Cove.

He was arrested and charged June 11 with murder and a secondary count of feloniously possessing a firearm. That charge stemmed from his 2006 conviction of two counts of simple assault on a law enforcement officer in Carroll County that happened in 2003.

Swims was released on $100,000 bond the next day, June 12, and has been awaiting trial since. The gun charge was dismissed in Lafayette Circuit Court following Swims’ murder arrest when the court found that because the 2003 crimes were simple assaults, he wasn’t a felon and could legally possess the handgun.

Since then, Swims has sold the Oxford property and returned to Grenada. He is represented by Grenada attorney Kevin Horan. Calls to his office were not returned.

Mrs. Swims’ family, most of whom still live in Carroll County where she reared, say they have had little information about the progress of the case, and hope to learn more about the details of her death when the court term opens on Sept. 18.

“Whether he gets a plea deal or has a trial, we are just hoping for justice for our Anteeatta,” said Shalanda Cook, her younger sister. “He had a long time to wipe out the evidence and whatever else he did while my sister laid dead in her house for 48 hours. We don’t know how it’s going to turn out, but he’s been out living his life like nothing happened and it hurts us every day.”

Cook said she and her sister promised their grandmother they would get degrees from Ole Miss before she passed away. “She told us that when she was young she wasn’t allowed to go to college and nothing would make her more proud than to see us graduate at Ole Miss,” she said. “That’s just what Anteeatta did, and she worked so hard to do it that I sit and cry when I think about it now.”

Cook said Mrs. Swims was disappointed when she wasn’t hired by the Oxford School District after earning an education degree, but quickly found her place at Batesville Intermediate School, where she started and was LEAD teacher at the time of her death.

“She loved her Batesville school and later, when Oxford called her with a job offer, she said, ‘No, this is the school that wanted me first and I’m not leaving,’” Cook recounted.

Cook said the family learned of her death from Mr. Swim’s mother, who called Mrs. Swim’s mother and told her “Anteeatta is dead.” That was June 11 after the body was discovered and the arrest made.

“This all happened suddenly,” Cook said. “When Anteeatta decided she was going through with a divorce and told him they were going to sell the house and split the money, then that’s when he decided to do what he did.”

Cook said the family believes her sister had met her husband at the house to discuss the potential sale when the incident took place. “He sold the house and used the money to stay out of jail this long,” she said. “That was her house, she paid for it, and her family never saw any money from it.”

Cook said in the days before her death Mrs. Swims was staying at houses of different friends and trying to avoid her husband. “She wouldn’t come stay with me or my mom, and now I know that she didn’t want to put us in any danger. She never would tell me exactly what was going on, but I knew she was being abused and was afraid of what he might do.”

Mrs. Swims talked with family members on June 8 by phone for the last time.

“After that, she didn’t answer the phone and when I would text her, the answers I got back didn’t make sense. They had spelling errors and one thing about Anteeatta being an English major is she never misspelled a text and if she did, she went back and fixed it.”

It was not her sister sending texts on June 9 and 10, she said. “I knew for sure something was wrong on the 10th when I sent her a text about something we were doing together and the text came back, ‘What is this in reference to.’ I knew then that he had my sister’s phone and something was wrong. He was texting people and trying to hide what he did.”