Habitual Offender Sentenced to Life for Robbery and Assault of 73 Year Old Flora Store Clerk

Madison and Rankin Counties’ District Attorney Michael Guest announced today that Tony Deshaun Swinney was sentenced to two life sentences in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections after a jury convicted him of Robbery and Conspiracy to Commit Robbery.

On April 2, 2015, brother and sister Tony Swinney and Audrey Swinney, and their cousin, a juvenile, drove to the Bullet’s Convenience store in Flora, Mississippi. At the store, Tony Swinney and the juvenile entered the store and assaulted the store owner, Pyare Lal, and stole money from the register and from a room behind the counter. The victim is 73 years old. Once they had taken the money on hand, they exited the store and were driven away by Audrey Swinney.

As they were driving away, the victim recognized Audrey Swinney, as she had previously worked in the store for him. The Flora Police Department responded to the scene and immediately developed Audrey Swinney as a suspect. She was arrested and taken into custody. Based upon statements she gave to investigators, this led to the apprehension of the juvenile, who also confessed. These confessions resulted in law enforcement arresting Tony Swinney. Video surveillance was also obtained from the store, aided in the investigation.

At trial, the juvenile testified against Tony Swinney along with the victim, and the jury returned two verdicts of guilty against him after deliberating for 30 minutes.

Audrey Swinney pled guilty prior to trial and received a 15 year sentence. The juvenile’s case was handled in Youth Court.
Law Enforcement determined that Tony Swinney had four previous felony convictions in Yazoo County. Due to his criminal record, Tony Swinney was sentenced as a violent habitual offender, with life in prison being the only sentence allowed by law.

Swinney had previously been convicted on three prior occasions of House Burglary in Yazoo County and also has a conviction from Yazoo County for attempted escape.

Guest stated, “Swinney is a four time convicted felon who had recently been released on parole when he assaulted and robbed a 73 year old store clerk. Swinney attacked a hard working senior member of our community who was only attempting to operate his business and support his family. I am proud of the Flora Police Department who did an outstanding job of solving this crime and arresting those involved in this case.”

Guest concluded, “I want to thank Deputy District Attorney Bryan Buckley for all his efforts in preparing this case and bringing it to trial within nine months of the crime. This case is a great example of how the legal system can swiftly bring to justice those who commit violent crimes. This conviction and sentence will work in continuing to keep Madison County a safe place to live, run a business and raise a family”

District Attorney Michael Guest was sworn into office in January 2008 and represents the Twentieth Judicial District, Madison and Rankin Counties. For more information regarding the District Attorney’s office, please visit www.daguest.com.

Name: Tony Deshaun Swinney
Address: 257 Harrison Lane, Bentonia
Date of Birth: 6-12-1988