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Front Page » July 31, 2014 » Breaking News » Police report manner of death in Swink case, arrest four
Published 82 days ago

Police report manner of death in Swink case, arrest four


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By C.J. McMANUS
Sun Advocate associate editor

Following an investigation and autopsy by the Utah State Medical Examiner's Office, it has been determined Brian William Swink, 32, of Helper was killed by asphyxiation due to inhalation of smoke. Swink was found dead in the basement of 423 South 200 West in Price under suspicious circumstances on July 29, following a residential fire.

As of Thursday, four individuals had been charged with crimes related to the fire which officials now know caused Swink's death. Price City Police Capt. Bill Barnes stated that further charges could be brought forth as the Carbon County Attorney's Office continues to review the circumstances of the Tuesday fire.

After being held at the Carbon County Jail following the incident, James William Pendleton, 39, of Price was arrested and booked for: Aggravated Assault, a third degree felony; Aggravated Kidnapping, a second degree felony; Conspiracy, a third degree felony; Obstruction of Justice, a third degree felony and Possession of a Dangerous Weapon, a class A misdemeanor as a category two restricted person.

Ashley Ann Platt, 21, of Price was also arrested for: Aggravated Kidnapping, a second degree felony; Conspiracy, a third degree felony; Obstruction of Justice, a third degree felony and Possession of a Dangerous Weapon, a class A misdemeanor as a category two restricted person. Platt was held at the Carbon County Jail following Tuesday's fire on a 72-Hour-Hold.

Michael John Dees, 38, of Price was arrested for: Aggravated Kidnapping, a second degree felony and Conspiracy, a third degree felony. Dees was also held on a 72-Hour-Hold following the events that led to Swink's death.

An all points bulletin was ran through Carbon County Public Safety Dispatch Office on Wednesday for Amee Lavon Averett, 23 of Price. It was stated that she was wanted by Price Police for questioning. On Thursday, it was reported that Averett has been arrested for Writing a False Statement, a class B misdemeanor in connection to the Tuesday residential fire.

On Thursday, it was reported that Pendleton had called public safety dispatch at 11 a.m. on July 29, stating that he needed Price fire and police at 423 South, 200 West. He allegedly told dispatch officials that he had beat up a man and that the man was locked in the basement of a home which was on fire.

Price City Fire, police and Carbon County Sheriff's officials arrived on scene within three minutes, according to the Thursday press release and discovered that the fire had spread from the basement level, through the main floor, and into the attic and roof area of the home.

Pendleton was on scene and allegedly reported to responding officers that the man locked in the basement was armed with a handgun. The man locked in the basement was Swink.

Fire fighters were initially delayed in fighting the fire as officers worked to determine whether or not the scene was safe. In the meantime, Pendleton allegedly broke through the locked door of the basement. When the door was opened, flames and black smoke prevented any entry into the home, said the Thursday release.

Pendleton was taken into custody at the scene by officers, and several other people in the residence fled but were quickly rounded up by on scene officers and Adult Probation and Parole. Everyone detained was held for questioning.

Fire fighters down the fire and in the process of checking the residence for "hot spots," they discovered the body of Swink in the basement.

According to Barnes, a search warrant was prepared and approved by the 7th District Court for the Price residence. Officers served said warrant just after 4 p.m., extending the crime scene to include a related vehicle.

Price City investigators were assisted by officers from the Carbon County Sheriff's Office, Adult Probation and Parole, Utah Attorney General's Office, Carbon County Attorney, Utah State Crime Lab, the Price City Fire Chief, the Utah State Fire Marshal's Office, and the Utah State Medical Examiner's Office.

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