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Sat, Sept. 21

Swaggerty takes last-minute plea, avoids trial in death of boy

PRESCOTT - William Swaggerty, who was about to go on trial Tuesday on manslaughter and aggravated assault charges in connection with a crash that killed a young boy, instead accepted a plea agreement just before jury selection began.

Swaggerty, 59, of Quartzsite, was arrested in June 2011 after DPS officers said he fled the scene of a single-vehicle accident that killed eight-year-old Andrew Hallor and seriously injured the boy's mother, Michel Hallor, 31, both passengers in his vehicle.

Swaggerty was driving south in a 1991 Chevrolet Suburban when, for an unknown reason, he went across the northbound lane before rolling down a steep embankment of about 80 feet, DPS Officer Robert Bailey said.

Michel was wearing a safety belt, but Andrew was not, and the accident ejected him from the SUV. The impact killed the boy instantly, said Deputy Yavapai County Attorney Kevin Schiff.

Swaggerty was indicted on seven counts, including manslaughter, two counts of aggravated assault, leaving the scene of an accident, endangerment, threatening, and DUI.

Michel pleaded guilty to one count of child abuse, victim under age 15, per domestic violence, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Swaggerty pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter. He could receive a sentence of from 10.5 to 15 years, according to the terms of the plea.

He will be sentenced in February.

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