Man arrested for husband’s murder after raising money for his funeral

OCALA, FL – A criminal case in Ocala, Florida has led to the arrest of a man who allegedly raised thousands of dollars on a GoFundMe page following his husband’s death. Herbert Swilley, 55, now faces multiple charges, including first-degree premeditated murder. He has also been charged with tampering with evidence, according to Miami-Dade jail records.

The incident dates back to March 25 when Timothy Smith, 59, was found dead in their Ocala apartment. Initially, deputies responded to the couple’s residence for a welfare check after Smith failed to show up for work, only to discover a gruesome crime scene. Smith had suffered blunt force trauma to his face and genitalia, along with a dark ligature mark on his neck. An investigation revealed that at the time of his death, he had a dangerously high level of diphenhydramine, an ingredient found in Benadryl, in his system.

Authorities were alerted to the case by concerned neighbors who reported a violent altercation at the couple’s apartment. As the investigation unfolded over several months, Herbert Swilley initially cooperated with detectives and provided a statement. However, his statement was later deemed “false, self-serving, or contradicted by other evidence.” Swilley then ceased cooperation and sought immunity from prosecution in Smith’s murder, making him a suspect.

Further complicating the case, it was revealed that Smith had allegedly been a victim of domestic abuse by Swilley. On August 8, Swilley’s daughter, Jordan Swilley, was named a person of interest in the investigation. That same day, Herbert Swilley posted a Facebook tribute to his late husband, commemorating their anniversary.

As investigators delved deeper, they uncovered disturbing details about the events leading up to Smith’s death. Smith had been given a “large amount” of diphenhydramine, 30 times higher than the normal therapeutic dose, on the night of March 23 or early on March 24. Subsequently, Swilley allegedly choked his husband to death with an unknown ligature, fracturing his cervical spine. He then relocated the body and staged a fake crime scene.

Swilley’s actions didn’t stop there; he attempted to destroy evidence using household cleaning products, swapped vehicles, and deleted footage from their Ring camera. He even discarded two carpets at a landfill hours after the murder. It was also revealed that Smith had secured a new job in another county and planned to move there without Swilley.

Adding a grim twist to the story, investigators discovered that Swilley was listed as the beneficiary on Smith’s life insurance policies, totaling $333,000. Swilley currently remains in jail and is scheduled to appear in court next month.