Man pleas no-contest in 2015 beating death of Chico woman

Apr 7, 2016 10:21 PM by Debbie Cobb

A Chico man pleaded no contest today to beating a woman to death he picked up walking on the street.

Christopher Warren Swihart, 50, entered the plea in Butte County Superior Court to Second-degree murder in the death of Cass Jean Edison, 55, of Chico. Swihart withdrew his previously entered pleas of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity. He had been scheduled for jury trial on June 20, 2016.

On March 18, 2015, Butte County Sheriff's investigators responded to an address on Rose Avenue in Chico. A woman's body had been found in the back of a utility trailer parked at a residence on that street. The body was bound and wrapped in a sheet, and covered with a tarp. The body was identified as Edison.

The trailer belonged to Swihart. Sheriff's detectives learned that Swihart had picked Edison up as she walked on the Esplanade on March 17, 2015 and too her to his trailer, where they found evidence tying Swihart to Edison's death. Edison died of blunt force trauma.

Swihart fled to Fall River Mills following the killing. While staying with a friend there, he made admissions about the murder. He eventually turned himself in to sheriff's detectives.

As part of today's plea, Swihart admitted he had served two prior prison terms for felony domestic violence and waived all credit for time served in the Butte County Jail awaiting his trial. He faces 17 years-to-life in prison when he's sentenced on May 12, 2016.


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