Harrisburg man arrested in killing of elderly woman

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A city man who proclaimed his innocence in the death of an elderly woman last summer has been charged with criminal homicide.

David Barksdale, 50, was arrested Friday in the killing of 83-year-old Peggy Swann.

“Our detectives have never let that case go,” police Sgt. Gabriel Olivera said. “It’s been nine months and they pretty much worked on that since then.”

Swann’s severely decomposed body was found June 25 in the basement of her home in the 100 block of North 13th Street. Investigators said she died of traumatic injuries to her head, neck and chest, and her body had been in the basement for about two weeks.

The following month, Barksdale called ABC 27 News and asked for the opportunity to clear his name of any wrongdoing. He said he had been named in court petitions that accused him of interfering with an investigation into the suspected sexual abuse of Swann.

The petitions stated Barksdale and others denied access to Swann’s home and whereabouts to Dauphin County Area Agency on Aging employees.

Barksdale claimed that he and Swann had an ongoing relationship that began 15 years ago when she was 68 and he was 34, but he said he was living with another woman and hadn’t been intimate with Swann for several months before her death.

“We are still trying to determine the extent of that relationship,” Olivera said. “At one time they were a couple.”

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