John Edward Swindler was executed at the age of 46 in 1990 by the State of Arkansas for the September 24, 1976 murder of Patrolman Randy Basnett, age 30.
John Edward Swindler shot and killed Patrolman Randy Basnett in the afternoon of September 24, 1976. Officer Basnett had stopped at a service station at the Kelly Highway exit in Fort Smith, Arkansas, when Swindler also stopped there in a stolen car with a South Carolina license plate. Swindler was returning to Leavenworth, Kansas to settle some personal grudges that had arisen when he had been imprisoned there. Passing the I-540 exit on I-40 near Van Buren, Arkansas, the illiterate Swindler became confused and exited, driving across the Arkansas River and into Fort Smith. That morning, Basnett had been briefed to be on the lookout for Swindler, who was the suspect in the double murders of teenagers Gregory L. Becknell and Dorothy Ann Rhodes in South Carolina and other felonies in Georgia and South Carolina. The briefing contained information about Swindler's description, the car he was thought to be driving, and the fact that he was considered to be armed and dangerous. After he noted Swindler and the stolen car, Basnett radioed dispatchers that Swindler was at the service station. Back-up officers were immediately dispatched to his location.
Before additional help arrived, officer Basnett approached Swindler's car and asked for identification. Without warning, Swindler pulled a revolver and shot Basnett twice in the chest. Basnett, who was standing beside the car, returned fire before collapsing, slightly wounding Swindler. Swindler attempted to flee, but being unfamiliar with Ft.Smith, took a road that trailed off into a dead end in a soybean field on the Arkansas River. He was captured there within minutes by police officers who had answered Basnett's call. When officers arrested Swindler, he had several weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in his possession.
Officer Randy Basnett died in the ambulance on the way to Sparks Regional Medical Center.
Two page (both pages front and back equaling four handwritten pages) letter from Swindler. Letter is general content and is signed John. Original matching handwritten envleope is included.
Product Code: JSWIND1E