A Florida handyman has been arrested for the brutal murder of his 59-year-old husband, whom he allegedly drugged with 30 times the recommended dose of an antihistamine and then stashed his body in an unused apartment under a $333,000 insurance plan.
Herbert Swilley, 55, was arrested Friday and booked Saturday on first-degree murder and tampering with evidence charges in the alleged murder of Timothy Floyd Smith. He is being held without bond in the Marion County Jail, Law and crime reported.
Swilley allegedly strangled his lover so violently that he broke his neck. He then dumped the body in an unused apartment in Ocala, where he staged a fake crime scene, police say. He tried using household cleaners to destroy evidence and attempted to delete data from their Ring camera, investigators allege.
Police conducted a welfare check on March 25 when Smith, who worked as a supervisor at an assisted living facility in Orlando, failed to show up for work.
Researchers claimed that Smith was a victim of domestic violence and planned to move to another country without his partner and start over. Swilley was also the beneficiary of his wife’s hefty life insurance policy and stood to benefit hundreds of thousands of dollars from his death, investigators allege.
A mugshot of Kevin Swilley, 55, who was arrested Friday and charged with first-degree murder for the March 2023 death of his partner, Timothy Smith, 59
Victim: Timothy Floyd Smith, 59, an assisted living facility director in Orlando, was drugged before allegedly being strangled by his partner
Herbert Swilley, 55 (left) with his husband Tim Smith, 59, in happier times. Investigators allege Smith is a victim of years of domestic violence
Authorities alleged that Swilley gave Smith a megadose — 30 times the recommended dosage — of diphenhydramine, an ingredient in over-the-counter allergy and sleep medications, before strangling him to death.
Police believe Smith was killed between March 23 and 24.
After the murder, Swilley returned to their home and then drove Timothy’s car to the apartment where he left him,” according to agents, Law & Crime.
“Swilley then walked back to their home where he accessed their Ring camera application; investigators later found out that there was no surveillance video from that night.
“Then, a few hours later, Swilley drove to the dump where he dropped off two rugs from their home before continuing with his day.”
During the investigation, as detectives were building the case, they found mounds of evidence that revealed years of domestic violence, an alleged cover-up attempt and a financial motive for the murder.
Chilling details reveal Swilley may have snapped when he learned his wife was planning to move to another country, find a new job and leave their toxic relationship behind.
In August, the same day Swilley was named the prime suspect in his partner’s death, he posted a creepy Happy Anniversary message on his Facebook.
Swilley wrote a creepy ‘Happy Anniversary’ post to his late lover the same day investigators named him as the prime suspect in the murder
He wrote in part: “To my very loving husband. I know you’re up there looking down on us and caring for us. You will always be in my heart and thoughts…
“Honestly, I miss you every day and wish you were here. Life isn’t the same without you. I miss your smile and your loving spirit.”
He ended the post with “Love, Herby.”
In April, just weeks after Smith’s death, Swilley raised more than $2,200 in donations via GoFundMe to cover the costs of a “celebration of life.” Fox news reported.
Early in the investigation, Swilley was cooperative, but investigators claimed his preliminary statement was “false, misleading and self-serving, or contradicted by other evidence.”
When authorities requested another interview, Swilley’s attorney said he would cooperate with investigators if he were granted immunity from prosecution for Smith’s murder.
Sandy Reils, Smith’s sister, told WESH she learned about her brother’s murder through social media and not through her own brother-in-law, Law and Crime reported.
She shared her own suspicions.
“From the first initial conversation I had with him, he changed his story three times in that conversation,” she said.
Swilley’s next court appearance is scheduled for December 5.