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Court upholds Swope conviction

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Associated Press and Gazette staff
November 20, 2008
— A state appeals court has upheld an East Troy man's conviction in his parents' deaths.

Prosecutors say Craig A. Swope, 55, killed his mother and stepfather in early January 2004, stole their money and left their bodies to rot in their Delavan Township house.


A jury in September 2006 convicted him of two counts of homicide, and he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.


Swope argued on appeal an FBI agent wasn't qualified to testify about how the couple might have died and improperly relayed other experts' opinions to jurors.


The Second District Court of Appeals disagreed. It ruled the agent's experience and education qualified him to testify and experts can testify about their opinions even if those opinions are based on another's work.


Swope's attorney, Dianne M. Erickson, declined to comment.


A Walworth County jury determined Swope probably smothered his mother and stepfather, Carolee and Duane Recob, before taking nearly $43,000 from the couple's checking account.


He left his mother, 69, lying in bed covered by a blanket. He left his stepfather, 74, seated in a recliner with a crossword puzzle at his side.


The couple weren't found until Feb. 29, 2004, when police were called to their Highway 11 home between Delavan and Elkhorn to check on them. Swope's daughters couldn't get inside, and they called police, saying they hadn't seen their grandparents in two months.


Police first arrested Swope in May 2004 on multiple forgery charges. The checks that Swope cashed left a paper trail.


Swope pleaded guilty to 20 forgery counts and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.


He was charged with double homicide in February 2005.


Swope remains in prison.



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