A man who raised thousands after the death of his spouse was arrested after police say he killed his husband and staged a crime scene
- A Florida man was arrested after police say he murdered his husband in March.
- Police also allege that he staged a fake crime scene and provided false and "self-serving" evidence.
A Florida man who raised thousands on GoFundMe for his late husband's funeral expenses was arrested on Friday after police said he killed his spouse and staged a fake crime scene.
Herbert Swilley, 55, was arrested on charges of premeditated murder in the first degree and tampering with evidence, the Marion County Sheriff's Office said in a news release on Facebook.
According to authorities, an extensive investigation spanning months led them to suspect that Swilley had killed his husband, Timothy Floyd Smith, in March this year.
On March 25, deputies traveled to an apartment in Ocala in north-central Florida for a well-being check on Smith, who had failed to report to work the day before.
In the apartment, deputies said they found Smith's body, which showed signs of a ligature mark on his neck and blunt-force trauma to his face and genitals.
Detective Daniel Printer of Marion County's Major Crimes Unit then launched a homicide investigation, the sheriff's office said.
The investigation found that on late March 23 or early March 24, Smith had consumed 30 times higher than the normal therapeutic dose of diphenhydramine — a sedating antihistamine used in medications like Benadryl.
The sheriff's office alleged that Swilley then choked Smith before transporting his corpse from their residence to the other apartment, which belonged to the couple, where he concocted a fake crime scene.
It's unclear why the body was transported to another property.
Afterward, Swilley returned to their shared home, picked up Smith's car, and drove it to the other apartment, before walking back, according to police.
Hours later, Swilley transported what appeared to be two large carpets from their residence to a landfill, the sheriff's office said.
Initially, Swilley pretended to cooperate with law enforcement, providing a preliminary statement, according to deputies.
But the investigation found that his initial comments appeared to be "false, self-serving, or contradicted by other evidence," the sheriff's office said.
When detectives tried to address these discrepancies, Swilley's attorney insisted that his client would only cooperate if he was guaranteed immunity from prosecution, according to the sheriff's office.
A month after the murder, Swilley set up a GoFundMe to raise money for a "celebration of life" for Smith, according to NBC affiliate station WFLA.
It raised more than $2,200 but has since been removed, WFLA reported.
Swilley was first named as a suspect on August 8. That same day, he posted a tribute on Facebook to his "very loving husband" on what would have been their anniversary.
The post said: "I know you are up there looking down on us and taking care of us. You will always be in my heart and thoughts."
The sheriff's office alleged that Smith had previously been a victim of domestic abuse at the hands of Swilley.
In addition, it noted that Swilley stood to gain financially from Smith's death because he was listed as a beneficiary in his life insurance policies, totaling $333,000.
The sheriff's office also said in the news release that Smith was close to securing an out-of-county job and planned to relocate without Swilley.
Swilley's daughter, Jordan Swilley, was also listed as a person of interest on August 8.
A spokesperson for the sheriff's office told Insider in an email: "According to our Major Crimes Unit, no evidence at this time would result in Jordan Swilley's arrest for Timothy's murder."
The elder Swilley is being held without bond in Marion County Jail.
A video released by the sheriff's office shows him being escorted to the jail in handcuffs.
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