Trial date set for 1 of 2 armed men held captive by homeowner

Photo: Greg Garreans

A trial date has been set for one of the armed men who went to a Briarcliff residence to retrieve an allegedly stolen assault-type rifle and wound up disarmed, flat on the ground and staring into the barrel of a pistol wielded by an angry homeowner.

Twenty-nine-year-old Greg Garreans appeared in Baxter County Circuit Court last week. His trial has been set for Jan. 19, 2021.

According to police reports, two men were held captive by the armed homeowner — Garreans and 28-year-old Kip Edward Swadley. Both face aggravated assault charges.

Photo: Kip Edward Swadley

According to the probable cause affidavit, there was a third man present at the incident — armed with a Samurai-style sword and known only as “Alex.”

“Alex” has never been further identified. He left the scene in a green SUV before Baxter County deputies arrived on scene, leaving his two friends with the armed homeowner standing guard over them.

The incident took place Sept. 19, 2019 just after 7:30 a.m. Baxter County deputies responded to a 911 call reporting armed men were threatening the homeowner at a residence along Ben Nevis Drive in Briarcliff.

When the deputies arrived, they found Garreans and Swadley, unarmed and on the ground.

The homeowner testified Garreans was banging “heavily” on his front door and was armed with a shotgun. He told deputies he answered the door with gun-in-hand and convinced Garreans and Swadley to lay down their weapons.

The homeowner said seeing the men with the weapons in front of his house put him “in fear of his life,” and he said he had experienced nightmares since the incident. The homeowner said he had never heard of the person suspected of taking the rifle, and that neither the man nor any kind of stolen weapon had ever been at his home.

All of the action was captured on the homeowner’s video surveillance system. The video showed Garreans at the front door and Swadley standing next to a bass boat in the driveway. Both were shown armed with 12-gauge shotguns.

The third suspect, known only as “Alex,” was shown standing in the street with a sword.

According to the probable cause affidavit, the entire episode was based on bad information. Garreans told deputies he had found his AR-15 rifle missing on the morning of Sept. 19, and believed a houseguest had taken it.

A neighbor informed Garreans he had talked with the houseguest on the telephone, and the man and the allegedly stolen weapon were at the residence along Ben Nevis Drive.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Garreans, Swadley and the man named “Alex” armed themselves and went looking for the alleged thief and missing rifle.

And, then they ran into the problem that ended with their arrests and the filing of the aggravated assault charges.

Both Garreans and Swadley said they intended no harm, but only brought the loaded shotguns in case someone at the residence shot at them.

Swadley’s trial came up first. Since he had waived a jury trial, his case was heard in a bench trial format – meaning Circuit Judge Gordon Webb served as both judge and jury.

Swadley testified as the only defense witness in his late February bench trial. He said he has been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and when his sugar levels spike, “it’s hard to know exactly what is going on,” and he told the court such was the case the day of the incident.

Swadley was found guilty of the charges against him and put on probation for six years and ordered to spend time in the county jail. He has since been accused of committing another crime, and a petition has been filed to revoke the sentence.

Garreans is free on a $10,000 bond.

WebReadyTM Powered by WireReady® NSI