TAWAS CITY – Dana James Swanton, 37, of Glennie was acquitted on all but one charge following a two-week trial on charges including torture and criminal sexual conduct, in Iosco County’s 23rd Circuit Court.
On Feb. 28 a jury found Swanton - formerly of Oscoda – guilty of operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI), but acquitted him on charges of torture, 1st-degree criminal sexual conduct, assault with a dangerous weapon, domestic violence, failure to report an incident, two counts of 1st-degree criminal sexual conduct causing injury and a count of assault by strangulation.
The charges stemmed from an incident that Swanton’s former wife said allegedly occurred on Oct. 2, 2016 in Oscoda at their home.
On Feb. 28, following the jury’s verdict, which was handed down to acquit Swanton on all but the OWI charge, Judge Kathryn Joan Root sentenced Swanton to credit for 93 days served in jail for that charge. Following the trial he was released from the custody of the Iosco County Sheriff’s Office.
Swanton, who was arrested on the charges in October 2016, was originally denied bond in the case and has been held in the custody of the Iosco County Jail since that time. He was bound over to Iosco County’s 23rd Circuit Court, where he entered “not guilty” pleas to the aforementioned charges.
The trial stemmed from an investigation conducted by the Oscoda Township Police Department following a report from Swanton’s then wife.
She reported and claimed that Swanton had committed multiple crimes against her, following an escalating period of violence which began in late September of 2016, including allegedly threatening her with a knife, forcing her to take drugs and forcing her to commit acts of a sexual nature that she did not wish to partake in.
The woman claimed that Swanton strangled her and kept her against her will after a violent struggle for car keys while she was trying to allegedly escape Swanton. She told police that the alleged two hours of terror abruptly came to an end when Swanton suddenly let the woman go.
She also told police that Swanton was allegedly armed, violent and intended to kill people.
When police arrived at the residence, they found Swanton had left and issued an alert to other law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for a 2006 silver Hummer. Two firearms were found in the driveway, which police suspect fell off the vehicle when Swanton fled. He was later apprehended and arrested in East Tawas.
Arenac County Prosecuting Attorney Curtis Broughton did not return repeated calls for comment on the case. He was made a special prosecutor on the case after the Iosco County Prosecutor’s Office in its entirety was disqualified by the case in June of 2017. The office was disqualified by a judge because of past legal involvement with Swanton and members of the staff, according to Attorney Brian Prain, Swanton’s attorney.
As to why the jury acquitted him on all but one charge, Prain said he believed that the jury found the alleged actions of Swanton by his wife as completely out of character with Swanton’s personality.
“I could never guess what they were thinking,” he said of the jury on the case. “I would have to think that they just wouldn’t believe it.”
He said he did not think the jury acquitted Swanton on “reasonable doubt” but simply they thought the allegations against him by his ex-wife were false.
Prain said he had many witnesses for Swanton and said only had three testify, but could have had many more.
“The jury was out for two hours, give or take, and you could tell, by the exhibits and photographs they were asking for that they were expeditiously moving through the charges,” Prain said, adding that he thought they did an excellent and thorough job on the case.
As far as the more than two years Swanton spent in jail, Prain said early in the case he kept requesting that a bond be set, but was denied bond, which he though was unfair, but said after awhile focus went from trying to get bond to spending funding on the legal defense in the case.
“I absolutely 100 percent believe in (Swanton’s) innocence, and I hope if there is anything for the community to gain from this, is I hope the prosecutors will take a very close look at (similar cases) and maybe not charge someone if the different stories didn’t add up,” Prain said. “This is a man who lost two years of his life.”