Murder Suspect Is Declared Incompetent To Stand Trial

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 20, 2011

By Jackie Seabolt
Enterprise Record

The man charged with the killing and dismemberment of Patricia Yvette Swaim earlier this year was deemed incapable of standing trial last week and his case has been removed from the trial calendar.
David Earl Hughes, 56, is charged with the first-degree murder of Swaim after her dismembered body was found March 23 under a brush pile near the home they shared on Serenity Trail.
Swaim, 49, was first reported as a missing person by her daughter on March 10.
After his arrest an evaluation was ordered on Hughes and he was transported to NC Central Regional Hospital in Butner.
According to the order signed last week, three doctors at Butner concluded, after reviewing Hughes’ medical records and tests, that he “is currently incapable of proceeding on the basis that [Hughes’] medical conditions …. have caused significant cognitive impairment, which would interfere with meaningful participation in his defense.”
At the time of his arrest Hughes used a cane to walk and during court appearances he needed assistance with stairs, and often moved slowly.
He had suffered strokes in the past and has a brain injury, but details of the forensic findings in the case were sealed by the district attorney’s office in March.
Based on the Butner doctors’ …