The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Cops, courts and fires

July 30, 2013

Robbery trial begins for suspect accused of attacking two elderly men at casino


A trial started Tuesday for a man accused of attacking and robbing two elderly men on consecutive days at Hoosier Park Casino.

Charles Swift Jr., 33, of Muncie, faces two charges of robbery, a Class C felony and a Class B felony, for allegedly grabbing and demanding money from an 85-year-old man in the casino's bathroom on Oct. 10, 2012, then doing the same to an 84-year-old man the very next day.

When officers arrested Swift shortly after the second attack, they reportedly found a money clip belonging to the second victim pushed into the ground in a grassy median right next to where Swift was taken into custody.

Nicale Rector, Swift's attorney, used a reasonable doubt argument in her opening statement to the jurors in Judge David Happe's Madison Circuit Court 4 on Tuesday. Nobody saw Swift commit the crimes, and his fingerprints were not found on the victim's money clip.

"[Prosecutors have] no witnesses. They have no evidence. They have no case," Rector repeated several times to the jury.

Deputy prosecutor Andrew Hopper argued the defendant attacked the two men in an attempt to steal money and tried to hide the evidence in the grass when he was about to be arrested.

The 85-year-old victim of the first attack testified Tuesday, and said somebody grabbed him from behind when he went to a urinal in the bathroom. The attacker overpowered the man and forced him into a nearby stall and onto the floor. The man then demanded money, took the victim's wallet out of a pocket and left the restroom, telling the octogenarian to not leave for five minutes.

The victim said he never saw the man's face, but identified him as a white male. Swift is white.

A man who entered the restroom at the time of the attack testified he saw a stall occupied by two people, but didn't find it suspicious because elderly people often have helpers. 

Witness testimony wrapped up on Tuesday after attorneys questioned a casino security officer who investigated the first attack. The second victim, who was injured in the attack when he tried to fight back, is expected to testify Wednesday. Prosecutors are also expected to present casino surveillance footage to the jury Wednesday.

According to Happe, the trial will likely conclude early Thursday.

Like Jack Molitor on Facebook and follow him @aggiejack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.


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