Indicted guards free for lack of evidence
by Steve Paradis, Herald Staff
February 04 2007 at 0000 | 5184 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SANFORD — Two men indicted on Nov. 15, 2005, in connection with the shooting death of 16-year-old in July of that year, walked out of the Criminal Justice Center as free men before their trial concluded.

Bryan Ansley of Sanford and Patrick Swofford of Orange City turned themselves in at the Seminole County jail in 2005.

Swofford, then 26, was charged with manslaughter, shooting into an occupied vehicle and not having a state license with him at work. Ansley, also 26 at the time, faced a charge of shooting into an occupied vehicle.

They both opened fire on a Dodge Intrepid driven by Travares McGill, who had no driver’s license. He also had passengers and had backed into one who had just gotten out of the car, breaking the man’s leg.

Witnesses said McGill has sped down the street near Seminole High School, where he was a student. Investigators also found cocaine in the car, according to testimony.

McGill was hit by a bullet fired by Swofford that went through his back into his heart, testimony said.

The guards said McGill had raced toward them as they approached while working at the Country Lake Apartments near the school.

Assistant State Attorney Wayne Holmes said Swofford should have stopped shooting, and he was trying to kill McGill. When he fired the fatal shot, Swofford was at the side of the car as it sped past, according to testimony.

The trial for both men started Monday, Jan. 29. Two days later, Holmes chose to drop the charge against Ansley. His attorney, Robert Fisher, was not present because he was admitted to the hospital, according to court documents. Evidence also showed that Ansley fired twice, but missed the car and McGill.

The trial continued with Swofford until the state rested its case on Thursday afternoon. Circuit Judge O.H. Eaton Jr. recessed to ponder the defense’s motion for acquittal. When he returned, he said evidence was not sufficient to convict Swofford. He granted the defendant’s motion and entered a judgment of not guilty.

Swofford pleaded guilty to failure to possess a license while on duty. He was released with a fine of $377.50.