Sunday, May 10, 2009

Kenneth Swolley Shot Dead in Sonoma Home

There is a memorial service for Ken at Duggan's here in Sonoma at 5PM on Wednesday, June 3, 2009.

Kenneth Swolley (scroll down for updates)

Last night the helicopter was flying over a nearby neighborhood and this is why. We pray for the victim's family.

On Saturday night, May 9, 2009, in a home on Arnold Drive, south of Watmaugh, Kenneth Swolley was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head. Neighbors said the home is rented to Tim Slevin. This story is a bit bizarre as the one arrested was the one who demanded a woman call the police!

Below is a map showing the neighborhood where Theresa Lee lives and where Salvadro Camargo was arrested.

Sidenote: It was full moon too.

Location of Theresa Lee's street

Suspected Homicide in Sonoma Valley

Sheriff's Department County of Sonoma
2796 Ventura Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95403
(707) 565-2511

Bill Cogbill, Sheriff/Coroner

Press Release

On 5/9/2009 at approximately 9:35 pm, a subject came into the Sonoma Police Department to report that his friend had been murdered by another subject at a house on Arnold Drive, but he was not sure of the address. The Reporting Party gave a vehicle description and said the suspect had fled in the vehicle. Deputies responded to the area that the Reporting Party described, located an address and found a deceased male inside the residence. The victim appeared to have been killed by a single gun shot. Deputies began searching the area for the suspect vehicle when another call came in from a resident on Pueblo Avenue in Sonoma. Pueblo Avenue is approximately 3 miles from where the suspected homicide occurred.

The Second R/P stated that a subject came into her house and told her that someone was trying to kill him and asked her to call 911. After the Reporting Party called 911, she was able to get out of her residence and away from the suspect. Several deputies and a K-9 Unit arrived on scene. The K-9 unit was deployed, biting the suspect. He was then taken into custody without further incident. The suspect vehicle was located a short distance away from the Pueblo Road address which matched the description given by the original Reporting Party of the suspected homicide.

Detectives from the Violent Crimes Investigation Unit and the Crime Scene Investigations Unit were called out for further investigation.

For further information contact Sergeant Tim Duke of the Violent Crimes Investigation Unit at (707) 565-2185.

Prepared by: Lieutenant Steve Brown
Posted on 10 May 2009

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Investigating con man's death in Sonoma


Published: Monday, May 11, 2009 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, May 11, 2009 at 10:59 p.m.

The man shot to death Saturday night near Sonoma was a convicted con man with a history of fraud arrests.

Ken Swolley, 52, who was shot once in the head during an altercation at a home on Arnold Drive, had been released from prison last fall in connection with a series of fraud and burglary convictions linked to wedding Web sites and real estate deals, according to court records and people who knew him.

Walt Moreno, an attorney who represented Swolley in court several times, said he’d heard from his former client a few weeks ago and Swolley had told him he was working on some new business ideas.

“He was very likeable,” said Moreno, who acknowledged Swolley “could be considered a con man.”

Sonoma Valley resident Salvador Camargo, 26, has been jailed as a suspect in the killing. But how the two men crossed paths and what happened between them remained under investigation Monday.

“We’re still trying to piece it together,” said Sonoma County Sheriff’s Lt. Chris Spallino.

There were four people at the Arnold Drive residence at the time of the death. Swolley and Camargo were in a room alone when the shooting occurred, Spallino said.

The two others heard a shot and all three left the house. One of the men went to the Sonoma police station to alert deputies.

Meanwhile, Camargo drove to a home about three miles away and walked in on a woman at about 10:45 p.m., saying he feared for his life. He hid in the home and demanded she call 911.

When deputies arrived, the woman and her dog left the house, although she later described how Camargo had begged her to stay with him.

During the arrest, Camargo was bitten by a police dog.

Prior to Saturday, Camargo had a minor criminal history in Sonoma County that included arrests on drugs, weapons and drunken driving charges, according to court documents.

He’s being held in county jail without bail. He’s expected to be arraigned today in Superior Court in Santa Rosa on a homicide charge.

Swolley apparently had been visiting or staying at the Arnold Drive home. He has resided at several Sonoma County locations and in cities throughout the Bay Area.

In Sonoma County, Swolley’s criminal history dates to the late 1990s, a pattern that began with misdemeanor driving violations and escalated to numerous felonies.

Sheriff’s detectives arrested him several times on fraud charges involving multiple victims in the past several years, officials said. One case involved 21 felony charges and another had 11, according to court records.

“I represented him on a number of cases,” said Moreno. “His schemes were not always 100 percent above board.”

Swolley’s fraud, burglary, forgery, grand theft and credit card convictions stemmed in part from a Web site offering tips on weddings and a Web site offering videographer services, officials said. He would take payments but not always deliver on his promises and he sometimes used people’s credit card numbers illegally, according to law enforcement and court records.

Swolley also was involved in questionable real estate deals. “He had a lot of different ideas he tried to execute. He had his fingers in a lot of different things,” said Moreno.

In 2006, Swolley’s cases were consolidated and he was convicted of a reduced number of charges. He was sentenced to four years and eight months in state prison.

But upon automatic sentencing review last fall, officials determined he’d been given too long a sentence and he was released, Moreno said.

You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 521-5412 or

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SHERIFF'S DETECTIVES COLLECT evidence Sunday at the scene of a homicide on Arnold Drive. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

One dead in shooting
Saturday incident


One man is dead and another is in custody charged with murder after a shooting Saturday night at a residence on Arnold Drive.

The victim was identified as Kenneth Swolley, 52. A suspect in the shooting, Salvadro Camargo, 26, allegedly fled the scene but was arrested later Saturday night after he knocked at the door of a stranger and asked her to call 9-1-1. According to Sgt. Steve Brown of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department, at about 9:35 p.m. Saturday, a subject arrived at the Sonoma Police Department to report that his friend had been murdered at a house on Arnold Drive, but was unsure of the address. The man also gave deputies a description of the car the suspect was driving.

Deputies arrived at the residence in the 21400 block of Arnold Drive and found Swolley fatally shot. Swolley didn't live at the residence but was a visitor. Brown said deputies started searching the area around the Arnold Drive residence when a second call came in from a resident on Pueblo Street in Sonoma.

A woman making the second call, said that a man came to her residence and told her that someone was trying to kill him and asked her to call 9-1-1.

After calling 9-1-1, the woman was able to get out of her residence. Sgt. Tim Duke, with the sheriff's Violent Crimes Investigation Unit, said that Camargo seemed to be worried when he knocked on the woman's door. Duke said that patrol officers surrounded the Pueblo Street home and sent a K-9 into the home.

Camargo was bitten at least once by the dog and required treatment at the hospital before being booked into the Sonoma County Jail.

The car Camargo was driving was located on Napa Road, a short distance from the Pueblo Street residence.

Duke said the sheriff's department is still putting together a time line, and that the shooting took place possibly an hour or more before the friend reported it to the police.

Duke also wouldn't speculate on the motive and said that the investigation is ongoing. He also said that Camargo is being held on murder charges.

An autopsy on Swolley is scheduled for today, Tuesday.

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Penngrove man killed in Sonoma shooting

Published: Monday, May 11, 2009 at 2:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, May 11, 2009 at 2:55 p.m.

Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department deputies are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting of a Penngrove man in Sonoma on Saturday night.

At the time of the shooting, four people were in a home on Arnold Drive, and Kenneth Swolley, 52, of Petaluma and Salvador Camargo, 26, of Sonoma were alone in one room. A shot was fired in the room, killing Swolley, and the other three people then fled.

Camargo drove to a house some three miles away and told a woman there to call 911, saying he feared for his life. Sheriff’s deputies subsequently arrested Camargo as a suspect in the shooting.
Another person in the house reported the incident to the Sonoma police station.

Detectives are searching for the gun and are trying to determine why the shooting occurred.

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Fleeing homicide suspect begs Sonoma woman for protection


Published: Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 11:29 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 11:29 a.m.

Theresa Lee on Sunday afternoon was still coming to grips with what happened the night before when a homicide suspect burst into her Sonoma home and demanded she call the police.

Salvadro Camargo, 26, walked into Lee’s home late Saturday night only hours after a man had been shot to death in a rural home south of Sonoma — about three miles from Lee’s house.

Camargo, apparently afraid that someone wanted to kill him, hid in her home until police arrived and arrested him.

“He told me they were out to kill him, and not to stand by the windows because they would shoot us,” she said. “It was very chaotic. I was very confused.”

Lee’s account adds to the bizarre circumstances surrounding a killing that the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department continued to investigate Sunday afternoon.

The identify of the dead man was not released.

Authorities learned of the killing when a friend of the victim arrived at the Sonoma police station to report the shooting, according to a police statement released Sunday morning.

The man didn’t know the address where the killing occurred, but his description led to a home on Arnold Drive just south of Watmaugh Road.

Neighbors on Sunday said the home is rented to Tim Slevin and that one person — not Slevin — was found inside dead from a gunshot wound to the head.

The Sheriff’s Department on Sunday did not release the names of those involved in the case, where the victim was shot, or many other details.

Camargo reportedly fled the home on Arnold Drive and drove to Pueblo Avenue where he barged into Lee’s home at about 10:45 p.m. demanding the 50-year-old mother call 911.

“I assumed there was a car wreck,” Lee said.

Camargo appeared to be in shock, she said, and at first he refused to tell her why she needed to call 911. Then things grew increasingly bizarre, Lee said.

“He was terrified. Whatever he knew had happened, he was terrified,” Lee said. “At first I thought he was in shock, then I thought he was probably really high on something. But I don’t know.”

Camargo didn’t threaten her or try to stop her from leaving when police ordered her and her dog to exit out the back door, Lee said. Instead, Camargo begged her not to leave.

“He was a pathetic person, on his knees, begging me not to leave as I backed away with my dog,” she said. “I told him he scared me and I needed to leave now.”

With Lee and her dog on the back patio, officers released their police dog, which bit Camargo.

“I honestly don’t know how long it lasted. You’d have to ask the 911 operator. It was just so chaotic,” Lee said.

Camargo was booked Sunday into the Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of murder. He was being held without bail.

The vehicle apparently driven by Camargo, which the victim’s friend had described to police, was found a short distance from Lee’s house.

On Sunday, deputies coordinated an effort to find evidence around Lee’s house using metal detectors.

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Autopsy shows man died of gunshot to the head

Published: Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 11:15 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 11:15 a.m.

Convicted con man Ken Swolley had gone to a home in Sonoma Saturday to do some electrical work when he was shot dead, sheriff’s officials said Tuesday.

An autopsy Tuesday morning showed Swolley, 52, died of a gunshot wound to his head, Lt. Chris Spallino said.

Swolley was at the Arnold Drive home Saturday night doing the work for the home’s renter, Spallino said.

Suspect Salvador Camargo, 26, was due in court Tuesday afternoon to be formally charged with the slaying.

The two men apparently didn’t know each other. There were two others at the home at the time of the shooting, which occurred when Swolley and Camargo were alone together in a room.

Spallino said detectives have some information about what happened between the two men but they weren’t releasing it at this point in the investigation.

Detectives were back at the Sonoma home Tuesday. They were pursuing leads on where to find the gun.

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Suspect flees murder scene, invades home

Sonoma Valley Sun
May 13, 2009

The suspect in the fatal Arnold Drive shooting Saturday night was subdued three miles away by a Sheriff K-9 unit after bursting randomly into the home of a woman alone in her Pueblo Avenue residence.

When Salvador Camargo barged through her kitchen door, “I assumed there was a wreck, and he was in shock,” said resident Theresa Lee. “He told me to call 911. I thought he needed help. He was terrified.”

Camargo, 26, was charged Tuesday with homicide in the fatal shooting of Kenneth Swolley, 52. Drug paraphernalia was found at that scene, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department. Camargo was carrying a glass pipe when apprehended in her home, Lee said.

Camargo, she said, became increasingly agitated but did not overtly threaten her. “He said ‘They’re going to kill me and they’ll shoot you, too.’ He was wild-eyed, hysterical.” Lee said she then thought she might be in “the middle of a drug deal gone bad.”

“It was very chaotic,” said Lee, who was on the phone with a friend when Camargo rushed in. They ended that call and both called police.

Camargo took the phone for a moment, she said, and spoke Spanish to the 911 operator before handing the phone back to Lee. He huddled in the hallway while she communicated with police. “I could hear the helicopter and see the lights,” she said, as deputies advanced on the house.

“He was on his knees, begging, ‘Don’t leave me alone,’” Lee said. She told him, “I did what you asked. I have to go. Stay where you are.”

As Lee and her dog stepped out the back door, officers, lead by a police dog, came in the front. Camargo sustained a dog bite but surrendered without further incident.

Police initially thought they were dealing with two different emergencies on Saturday night. One of two other people in the Arnold Drive house at the time of the shooting went to the Sonoma Police Station at 9:35 p.m. to report that his friend had been murdered and that the suspect had fled by car. He described Camargo and his vehicle to officers, and gave the approximate location of the house where the victim was found (just south of Watmaugh).

Deputies were searching the area for the suspect when another emergency call came in at about 10:45 p.m. It was Lee.

Officers quickly realized the shooting and the home invasion were related. “Patrol did a fantastic job pulling the pieces together,” said Sergeant Tim Duke of the Violent Crimes Investigation Unit.

Camargo’s car was found near Lee residence, which he apparently chose to enter “at random,” according to Duke. The investigation, including results of toxicology tests for drug use and the search for the gun, continue.

“It could have been so much worse,” said Lee, thankful that “everybody did their jobs so well” and that nobody else got hurt. “He was a desperate man. Luckily, the ‘what-ifs’ didn’t happen.”

Camargo is being held without bail at the Sonoma County Jail. His next court date is May 18.

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Divers retrieve handgun possiby used in Sonoma slaying


Published: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 9:21 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 1:54 p.m.

Divers searching a vineyard irrigation pond on Wednesday retrieved a handgun believed to have been used in a slaying in Sonoma last weekend.

They found a submerged semi-automatic pistol late Wednesday morning, said Lt. Chris Spallino. The gun will be tested to see if it was used to kill Ken Swolley, 52.

Swolley had been hired to wire stereo speakers at an Arnold Drive home Saturday night. While in a room with the suspect, Salvador Camargo, 26, he was shot in the head. An autopsy Tuesday showed the bullet struck him in the right temple from a range of within three feet, Spallino said.

Camargo was arrested later that night after a Sonoma woman called 911 to say a man had come into her home, acting terrified, and demanded she call for help.

A motive for the shooting hasn’t been disclosed.

During the search for the handgun on Tuesday, divers found a rifle. Whether it is connected to the Swolley slaying is unclear, Spallino said.

The pond was is about one mile from the crime scene.

Camargo appeared in court Tuesday but formal charges were delayed until he could be evaluated by a jail psychologist.

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Competency exam in slaying

Press Democrat
Published: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 4:03 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 4:03 a.m.

Criminal proceedings have been suspended against a man suspected of shooting to death another man near Sonoma, then entering a woman's house and telling her a bizarre story that he was being pursued.

One mental health professional has determined that Salvador Camargo, 26, isn't competent to stand trial on murder charges, according to Sonoma County court records.

Judge Elliot Daum ordered another psychological exam be conducted before moving forward with the case. In the meantime, criminal proceedings are suspended.

Camargo is accused of shooting Ken Swolley, 52, once in the head at close range during an altercation at a home on Arnold Drive on May 9. Swolley had gone to the home to do electrical work, police said.

Four people were inside the Arnold Drive residence at the time of the death, police said. Swolley and Camargo were in a room alone. The two others heard a shot and they and Camargo left the house. One of the men went to the Sonoma police station to alert deputies.

Camargo apparently drove to a home about three miles away and walked in on a woman at about 10:45 p.m., saying he feared for his life. He hid in the home and demanded she call 911.

Camargo is due back in court June 1 for results of the second psychological exam. If he is determined to be unable to assist in his defense, he could be sent to a state mental hospital for treatment.

-- Lori A. Carter

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Fred "Kenneth" Swolley -Sept. 5, 1956-May 9, 2009

Fred "Kenneth" Swolley, was born on Sept. 5, 1956 to Clara and Fred Swolley. He was well-known in Sonoma and Novato for his outgoing, optimistic personality, extreme wit and great sense of humor. Kenny grew up in Novato and loved to play baseball and was an all-star team player in high school. Summers were spent on his motorcycle riding along the windy roads of Marin County with reckless abandon along with his friends. Kenny had a love of horses, fast cars, antiques and enjoyed repairing electronics. He was a stereo specialist and more recently, was named top salesman and won many trips that took him to places like Hawaii and Thailand to mention a few. He installed sound systems for well known musicians including The Jefferson Airplane, Buddy Miles and the The Doobie Brothers.

Kenny was preceded in death by his father, Fred, in 2000. He is survived by his loving mother, Claire Swolley, Yuba City; his brother, John Swolley, of Yuba City; his sister, Kathy Fleming, of Sonoma; his cousins, Denise, Tressa and Zachary Hurlburt, of Napa, Darrell Quinn, of Sonoma, David Quinn, of Anderson, Danny Quinn, of Vista; and by his niece, Katie Allred, of Santa Rosa.

Kenny's life was cut short, when he died tragically, on Saturday, May 9, 2009, in Sonoma. He will be deeply missed by his loving family and friends.

Friends are invited to attend a memorial service on Wednesday, June 3, 2009, at 5 p.m., Duggan's Mission Chapel, 525 W. Napa St.

Private inurnment. Arrangements under the direction of Duggan's Mission Chapel, Mission Cremation Service, Sonoma.

August 4, 2009 UPDATE

Tue, 04 Aug 2009 15:58


Murder suspect Salvador Camargo, who was found mentally incompetent to be prosecuted for the shooting murder of a Penngrove man in a Sonoma area residence, has been sent to Napa State Hospital.

Camargo, 26, will remain there for three years or until he is competent to stand trial.

Criminal proceedings were suspended after doctors found him mentally incompetent. The defense and prosecution agreed Friday in Sonoma County Superior Court on the hospital commitment.

Deputy Public Defender Charles Ogulnik said during Camargo's first court appearance in May that his client was in "a fragile state" and that Camargo's "thought processes are not clear."

Kenneth Swolley, 52, of Penngrove, was shot once in the head in the Arnold Drive residence outside Sonoma around 9:30 p.m. May 9.

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Department said there were four people in the Arnold Drive residence when Swolley, an ex-convict with fraud convictions, was shot.

Camargo and two other people left the residence. One of the two people contacted the sheriff's department and Camargo went to a residence on Pueblo Drive about three miles away after the shooting and asked a woman to call 911, the sheriff's department said.

Camargo told the woman someone was trying to kill him, according to the sheriff's department. The woman left the house and Camargo was arrested after he was bitten by a police dog.

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Department's dive team recovered a semi-automatic handgun that is believed to be the murder weapon in an irrigation pond off state Highway 12 near Watmaugh Road on May 15.

Camargo was being held in the Sonoma County jail.

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Over the years my opinions have changed but this will never change: Jesus Christ, Lord, God and Savior, died on the cross and rose from the dead to pay for my sin.