Purdy man sentenced to 20 years in fatal crash

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Gregory Swaffar, 28, of Purdy, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for second-degree murder on Wednesday, Feb. 13, for his role in a drunk driving crash that claimed the life of a 10-year-old girl.

Swaffar also received two concurrent five-year sentences for second-degree assault in Ozark before Christian County Circuit Court Judge Mark Estle Orr.

Swaffar pleaded guilty on Jan. 2 to two counts of second-degree assault and one count of murder in the second degree. His case was transferred from Barry County to Christian County in January 2012 on a change of venue.

According to reports from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the fatal crash occurred a mile south of Butterfield at 11:40 p.m. on Feb. 19, 2011, when Swaffar's 1999 Dodge Dakota pickup crossed the center line of Highway 37 and struck a 1995 Mercury Sable, driven by Kenneth M. Keif, 33, of Washburn head on.

Kief and his daughter, Melissa Keif, 10, were flown to Cox Hospital South in Springfield with serious injuries. Melissa Keif later died from the injuries she sustained in the crash. Swaffar was not hurt, but his passenger, Sandra S. Larson, 46, of Shell Knob, was seriously injured.

The day after the crash, Swaffar was charged with driving while intoxicated, involuntary manslaughter (second degree murder) and two counts of assault in the second degree.

Barry County Prosecutor Johnnie Cox asked for a 25-year sentence; the defense requested 10.

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