- Associated Press - Friday, March 27, 2015

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - A federal jury took less than an hour to convict an Alabama man of murder in the 2013 baseball bat slaying of a Fort Stewart soldier found beaten on government property near the southeast Georgia Army post.

The U.S. District Court jury returned its guilty verdict Thursday against 43-year-old Carl Evan Swain of Jasper, Alabama. Prosecutors say Swain killed his brother-in-law, 29-year-old Army Spc. John Eubank, in a plot with the defendant’s sister to collect $500,000 in life insurance and benefit payments from the soldier’s death.

“He is penniless. He is desperate, and he is willing to kill her husband if she’ll pay him,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Rafferty told jurors in his closing argument.

Swain didn’t testify at during his trial, the Savannah Morning News reported (https://bit.ly/1HUxgN6 ). His defense attorney, Edward Tolley, asked jurors to consider Swain’s statement to FBI agents after he was arrested in December 2013.

“He firmly and repeatedly denies his involvement or that he would ever kill somebody for money,” Tolley said. “Why admit being somewhere if you knew a murder had been committed?”

Eubank was found brutally beaten on Nov. 30, 2013, at the Holbrook Pond Recreational Area. He was pronounced dead at nearby Winn Army Community Hospital on Fort Stewart, where efforts to revive him failed.

Because the soldier was killed on federal government property, Swain’s prosecution for murder was handled in federal court.

Lillie Mae Eubank, the soldier’s wife and Swain’s sister, has been scheduled to stand trial separately. Her attorneys have raised doubts about her mental ability to understand the proceedings against her.

Swain is expected to be sentenced in about three months. Prosecutors initially announced they would seek the death penalty, but later backed off those plans. Swain faces a life sentence in a federal court system that does not allow for parole.

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Information from: Savannah Morning News, https://www.savannahnow.com

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