Watch: Judge denies bond for man accused of killing husband, faking crime scene in Marion County

MARION COUNTY, Fla. — An Ocala man accused of killing his husband, destroying evidence and faking a crime scene, will stay behind bars for now.


Herbert Swilley, 55, appeared before a judge in Marion County Saturday morning.

The judge denied Swilley bond, indicating that he posed a possible threat to the community and should remain locked up.

Swilley’s charges include premeditated first-degree murder and tampering with evidence.

Watch below: Herbert Swilley attends his initial court appearance in Marion County

Deputies arrested Swilley on Friday after a months-long investigation into the death of his husband, Timothy Smith.

Smith, 59, was found dead in March 2023.

A probable cause affidavit, dated Nov. 1, detailed how investigators said they found that Smith had been dosed with 30-times the normal amount of diphenhydramine, which is an ingredient in Benadryl and Unisom.

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They said Swilley also choked Smith to death with an unknown ligature at their home.

Investigators believe Swilley then drove Smith’s body to a nearby apartment they maintained, where they said he staged a fake crime scene and attempted to destroy evidence with cleaning agents.

Deputies said hours later, Swilley dropped off two carpets at a landfill before going about his day.

During the investigation, deputies said they learned Smith had suffered domestic abuse by Swilley, and that Smith was in the process of securing a new job in another county to leave Swilley.

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Investigators said Swilley was listed as the beneficiary on Smith’s life insurance policies, which totaled $333,000.

During Swilley’s initial court appearance on Saturday, the judge initially denied him a public defender based on reports of owned assets.

But an attorney, who said she has previously represented Swilley, appeared next to him in court and told the judge that Swilley did not have the financial means for a private attorney.

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The judge then decided to “provisionally” appoint a public defender to Swilley, saying her decision “could be reconsidered at some point.”

Swilley’s next court date is scheduled for Dec. 5.

Stay with WFTV.com and watch Eyewitness News for updates on this developing story.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.

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