Decatur, Illinois

Decatur, Illinois
Curve-In, Fairview Avenue

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Another Murder

So quickly after discussing the brutal stabbing of Mary Ann DeCrevel here, it has come to my attention that another member of the Class of 1965 also died from murder.

Donald Roy Swartz, Class of 1965, died on July 27, 1993, of a homicide. He was called "Don" at MacArthur.

"Murder most foul, as in the best it is,
But this most foul, strange, and unnatural."
~ William Shakespeare
Hamlet Prince of Denmark (Ghost at I, v)

Below are two articles on these events.
Choked man transferred to Danville VA hospital
Victim comatose; no longer on life supports
by Judy Tatham, H&R Staff Writer
Herald & Review
Decatur, IL
Wednesday, July 28, 1993

Decatur -A Decatur man who was nearly choked to death last week has been transferred to a Danville hospital where he remained in a coma Tuesday, but no longer on a life-support system.

Donald R. Swartz, 46, is seriously ill, but his condition is listed as stable, a Veterans Affairs Medical Center spokesman said Tuesday.

Two women, Pamela A. Myers, 36, of the 1000 block of West Wood Street and Patricia Peterson, 48, of Decatur, are charged with first degree attempted murder. Police responded to a report of a possible beating under way in Swartz's apartment late Thursday night. They said they found Myers astride Swartz and choking him with an electrical cord.

Peterson had lived with Swartz in his apartment above downtown businesses in the 200 block of North Park Street. More recently, she told police, she had been living in bushes outside the downtown Sears, Roebuck and Co. store. Peterson has told police she had broken up with Swartz and had returned to his apartment to get some of her possessions. She said her friend Myers accompanied her.

Myers has claimed Swartz attempted to sexually assault her, Sgt. John Mickler said. Police have said they have no evidence to susbtantiate that allegation. Swartz was on a life-support system at Decatur Memorial Hospital. He was transferred to the Danville hospital Monday.

Bob Robinson, a spokesman for the Danville hospital, said Swartz was on a heart monitor and oxygen when admitted there.

2 women accused of murder
Charge upgraded to first degree after choking victim dies.
by Judy Tatham, H&R Staff Writer
Herald & Review
Decatur, IL
Thursday, July 29, 1993

Decatur -First degree murder charges were filed Wednesday against two Decatur women after the man they are accused of choking and striking with a bottle died Tuesday night in a Danville hospital.

Donald R. Swartz, 46, a self-employed painter, remained in a coma after police went to his downtown apartment and found Pamela A. Myers kneeling over him. She was using both hands to apply pressure to an electrical cord wrapped around his neck, a police affidavit in court files says.

Myers, 36, of the 1000 block of West Wood Street and Patricia Peterson, 48, who had lived with Swartz, will appear in court today. According to a sworn affidavit from a police officer, witnesses said they heard one of the women say something like "Oh, my God, is he still breathing?"

Witnesses also heard one of the women say, "Go ahead. Kill him," according to the affidavit.

Swartz was the son of Roy A. and Georgie Swartz of Decatur. He was a sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, a carpenter and had once worked in his family's construction business, J.J. Swartz Co.

Roy Swartz declined to comment Wednesday on the circumstances of his son's death, saying he didn't want to jeopardize prosecution of the case. His son had been back in Decatur for about 10 years after serving in the military.

He was stationed at Chanute Air Base in Rantoul and in Amarillo, Texas, where he was involved in air base traffic and safety. Later, he worked for Kraft Inc. in Champaign. He never married and had no children.

A graduate of MacArthur High School, his pastimes included reading, stamp collecting and bowling, his father said.

One of women accused in his death, Peterson, told police she had gone to Swartz's apartment to move out her personal belongings. In an affidavit seeking a public defender, she said she formerly was an elementary school teacher for 12 years.

Originally, Peterson and Myers were charged with attempted murder. They remain jailed in lieu of $10,000 cash bail.

Detective Master Sgt. Roy Glick said police continue to investigate a motive.

Myers claimed Swartz tried to sexually assault her, but police said there is no evidence to support her allegation.

Peterson was walking down apartment steps about 10 p.m. July 22 as police arrived.

(Researched and shared by Judy Sumner, Class of 1966.
Our condolences to the Swartz family and Don's friends.

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