The Oklahoma man accused of beating his wife to death inside a Lubbock motel had his first appearance in court on Tuesday. A Lubbock judge arraigned Arthur Dean Swagger on murder charges and set his bond at $500,000. Police say the 37-year-old beat his wife, Joy Swagger with his hands and an unknown weapon, while the family was staying inside the Motel-6 off i-27. She died from her injuries on June 7th. Police say there is evidence Swagger also sexually assaulted his wife, and even though some thought he deserved capital murder charges for the crime, the DA's Office decided not to go for the higher charge.
Asst. District Attorney Tray Payne says, "We felt like based on the facts and the evidence we had the elements of murder were met so, we chose to follow it as murder. I know it had been talked about and there were some rumors of capital murder but based on all that we saw that was the filing decision we made because we felt like those elements were the ones that we could meet."
There was a history of violence in the Swagger family. Joy had filed a protective order against her husband when the family was living in Oklahoma. The couple's two young children witnessed the beating and remain in state custody for the time being.