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Youell Swinney

Youell Swinney

Youell L. Swinney (March 9, 1917, Arkansas – September 15, 1994, Dallas, Texas) was the only major suspect in the Phantom Killer case in Texarkana, Texas and Texarkana, Arkansas in 1946, although he was never officially charged with any of the murders.

Swinney was a known thief with a history of assault and auto-theft. He was linked to the murders mostly by statements made by his wife, who refused to testify against him in court. Two of the lead investigators in the murders, Max Tackett and Tillman Johnson, believed for the remainder of their lives that Swinney had actually been the killer. However, a confession was never obtained due to Swinney being released earlier than investigators desired.

Swinney was convicted of auto-theft and as a repeat offender he received life in prison. However, investigation into his involvement in the murders eventually faded away. The case remains unsolved as of 2008, and physical evidence is all but nonexistent today. There are no records available to confirm or deny whether Swinney's fingerprints matched those found at one of the crime scenes.

Swinney grew up in rural Cleveland County, Arkansas, the son of a Baptist minister.


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