Orleans man gets 30 years for 2018 murder

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NEWPORT –– A 63-year-old man from Orleans, Randall Swartz, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder for the fatal shooting of his wife, Thea Swartz, in 2018. The judge in the Orleans County Superior criminal court described the incident as the “epitome of domestic violence.

The sentencing hearing, which lasted two days, concluded with Judge Lisa Warren imposing a 30-year term on Swartz, who has been incarcerated since his arrest in 2018. The prosecution, led by Orleans County State’s Attorney Farzana Leyva, had sought a sentence of 50 years to life, while the defense requested a term of 15 years to life, with eight years in prison.

The case details are harrowing. On May 15, 2018, while on the phone with a 911 dispatcher, Thea Swartz reported that Randall Swartz had a gun pointed at her. Shortly after, she was fatally shot. Police arriving at the scene found her deceased and Randall Swartz unresponsive but alive, having turned the gun on himself.

Judge Warren, in her remarks, highlighted the long-term domestic abuse suffered by Thea Swartz. Leyva depicted the victim as a vibrant presence cruelly taken from her loved ones. In contrast, Randall Swartz was portrayed as manipulative and abusive, his actions leading to the tragic incident.

Bailey Swartz, Thea Swartz’s daughter, addressed the court, describing the profound impact her mother’s death had on the family and referring to Randall Swartz as abusive and evil. She said her mother was leaving him, which led to the fatal decision.

The defense, led by attorney Robert Sussman, argued that Randall Swartz was significantly impaired at the time of the shooting, with a blood-alcohol level about four times the legal driving limit, and requested leniency in sentencing.

In a brief statement, Randall Swartz apologized for his actions, acknowledging his responsibility for the tragedy.

This case has also brought to light Randall Swartz’s previous legal issues. He was sentenced in 2019 for stealing equipment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars from Cabot Creamery, where he formerly worked. This federal sentence will run concurrently with his murder sentence.

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