Man pleads innocent, claims insanity

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 12, 2002

Ricardo Swift of Selma pleaded not guilty to the murder of Rudolph Lewellen for reason of mental disease or defect at an arraignment Tuesday.

Antoine Peterson of Montgomery has also been charged with the capital murder of Lewellen, but has not yet entered a plea, according to District Attorney Ed Greene.

A third man involved in the case, Michael Prevo of Selma, has been indicted with hindering prosecution. He is currently out on bond.

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Greene said that Swift will be examined at the Taylor Harden Secure Medical Facility in Tuscaloosa to determine his competence. He added that if there is any question about someone’s competency, then the court usually grants a request by the defendant’s attorney to have an examination.

However, Greene said, an examination doesn’t mean that Swift is insane.

Greene also said that the examination will probably last 60 to 90 days. Once Swift’s examination is complete, Greene said, a trial date will be set.

At an October grand jury Swift was indicted with causing Lewellyn’s death while committing theft with a handgun. Peterson received the same indictment.

The indictments stem from the death of Lewellen who had been reported to have been shot and robbed on Sept. 2.

Lewellen later died at the Vaughan Regional Medical Center on Sept. 30. At the time, the hospital did not confirm if he had died of gunshot wounds.

Police reports said that Lewellen had given money to the suspects before he was shot and robbed on Sept. 2.