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Freddie Grant Gets Two 30-Year-Terms for Murder of Gabbiee Swainson

6:30 PM, Aug 14, 2013   |    comments
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Freddie Grant (in orange) appears in court during his plea hearing on August 14, 2013.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - An Elgin man has been sentenced to two 30 year terms for the kidnapping and killing of Gabbiee Swainson, the Columbia teen who was missing for nearly a year.

Judge Robert Hood accepted a negotiated plea agreement against Freddie Grant, 53, Wednesday afternoon. The plea set the conditions for how much time Grant will serve: 30 years on the kidnapping charge, and 30 years on the murder charge. They will run concurrently.

The arrangement also means that Grant agreed to give up the right to appeal the decision.

When asked by the judge how he wanted to plead to both the kidnapping and murder charge, Grant answered "guilty."

During the hearing, Fifth Circuit Solicitor Dan Johnson put the details of the crime on the record, the first public accounting of what took place on August 18th, 2012, the day the girl disappeared. Johnson said Grant entered the girl's Columbia home around 3:45 a.m. that morning. At the time, the Swainson's mother was at work.

Johnson said Grant and Swainson struggled, but that Grant ultimately overpowered the girl. After picking her up, Johnson said Grant took her back to his home in Elgin, some eight miles away.

Johnson said Grant bound the girl's hands and face, and she eventually suffocated to death. He then buried the girl in a five-foot deep grave a few miles away.

Grant led investigators to her remains last Thursday. Previous Coverage: Sheriff: The Search for Gabbiee is Over | Sheriff, Coroner: Confirm Body is Gabbiee Swainson

"From the moment he walked me out there and pointed to where she was in the ground, at no time whatsoever had any remorse," said Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott.  "He's still a monster.  He was a monster till the very end."

Swainson's mother and father were in court during the hearing, and were asked by the judge if they were okay with the plea. Both said they were; however, Gabbiee's father said the decision to make a deal was not easy.

"I know we made a deal with the devil, but it's not justice to me," said Alvin Thompson. "We had to do what we had to do to bring her home."

Johnson said that he consulted with Swainson's mother during the negotiations, and would not have proceeded without her consent.

"I brought in Ms. Swainson and I had Mr. Thompson on the telephone.  Mr. Thompson indicated his willingness to enter into some type of negotiation to bring Gabbiee home," said Johnson.  "I was talking to Elvia and I could see the pain in her eyes.  She, as did I, wanted to go home and pray about it."

As part of the plea deal, prosecutors also agreed to drop an accessory after the fact charge against 27-year-old Dominque Grant, Freddie Grant's daughter. Investigators had said that the woman took Swainson's cell phone to Myrtle Beach in June of this year, and left it behind a grocery store. Investigators say the discovery of the phone, and her subsequent arrest, gave them the leverage they needed to get this plea deal.

Dominique Grant issued a statement though her attorney where she expressed sadness for Swainson's mother, and shock by her father's actions. She also said she was innocent of any participation in the case.

"I continue to admonish any accusation that I was involved in my father's actions, before or after his arrest," the statement read. "While the malicious charges against me have been dropped, I will continue to fight to clear my name."

Freddie Grant was sentenced earlier this year on a federal ammunition charge related to this case.

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