Trio charged with murder in Price house fire death
Three people were charged with murder Wednesday in the fiery death of Brian William Swink last month in Price.
James William Pendleton, 39, Michael John Dees, 38, and Ashley Ann Platt, 19, are accused of beating 32-year-old Swink and locking him in the basement of a drug house in Price on July 29. The house subsequently caught fire, and Swink, of Helper, died from smoke inhalation, an autopsy determined.
The three suspects were charged with one count each of first-degree felony murder, first-degree felony aggravated kidnapping and second-degree felony criminal conspiracy. Pendleton, who called 911 to report the fire at the house, confessed to beating Swink. He also was charged with third-degree felony aggravated assault.
When firefighters arrived at the house, 423 S. 200 West, Pendleton told them Swink was locked inside and was armed with a handgun. Crews delayed approaching the house because Swink purportedly was armed, but Pendleton broke through a locked door to the basement. Fire and smoke prevented rescue efforts, police have said.
Pendleton was arrested at the scene. Dees and Platt tried to flee the house but were arrested, along with another woman who is accused of filing a false statement in the case.
Police have said the group likely was using drugs in the house.