The Macon County Chronicle has recently learned that murder suspect, Johnny Ray Swack, who allegedly killed his former wife in 2011, has been released from Middle Tennessee Mental Health Center and returned to the Macon County Jail after he was found competent to stand trial.
Swack’s first disposition date in Criminal Court is Monday, January 28th, 2013 before Judge John Wootten, where he is facing a first-degree murder charge. “It has been determined that Mr. Swack is able to participate in his defense,” District Attorney General Tommy Thompson stated on Monday morning.
The story was first reported in the Chronicle during the fall of 2011, when Johnny Swack, age 52, was arrested and charged with shooting his former spouse, 36-year-old Reinalda Ann Dupont England, in the face with a pistol at 412 Meador Drive on Wednesday, September 7.
Mr. Swack called 911 that morning and reported that England had been shot. Former Chief of Police Ray Amalfitano had stated that upon arriving at the scene, the body of a woman was found in a bedroom. The situation was assessed, the area secured, and District Attorney Tommy Thompson and the TBI were notified when it was deemed a homicide.
Macon County Medical Examiner Randall Kirby subsequently pronounced the woman dead at the scene and her body was transported to Nashville for an autopsy.
Johnny Swack was later picked up at an undisclosed location in the west side of the county and served with a first degree murder warrant. He was held without bond in the Macon County Jail.
During a special session of Criminal Court on Thursday, July 5th, 2012, Assistant District Attorney General Justin Harris addressed the court with affidavits from several certified professionals stating “at this time Mr. Swack is not competent to stand trial.”
General Harris approached the judge with a motion that Mr. Swack be ordered to judicial hospitalization under involuntary commitment.
“They are going to attempt to make him competent, but they are asking that he be committed for them to be able to treat Mr. Swack,” noted Harris.
After Judge Wootten discussed the subject with Attorney General Harris and Defense Attorney Tom Bilbrey, he said, “under the law, Mr. Swack is entitled to a hearing on the involuntary commitment, but I’m not sure what purpose that would serve.”
Bilbrey agreed and he stated that his own expert agreed that Mr. Swack wasn’t able to stand trial at that time.
Judge Wootten made some observations for the record. “First of all, the case is not being dismissed, and this Court should note that competency is—can be a moving target. People can develop an inability to cooperate with their own defense or inability to mentally stand trial and this is something that is present today based upon what I have heard from the State and these affidavits and also from the defendant’s own doctor, however, competency can be reacquired later on so the case is not being dismissed.”
“This case, is in effect, just put on hold for a period of time,” said Judge Wootten. “If his condition changes where this matter can be set on a trial docket, then I’ll do so.”