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Arrest affidavit details conflicting accounts of Manitou Springs homicide

Posted at 1:44 PM, May 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-10 15:44:52-04
Freddie Crespo (left) and John Swinehart (right)

MANITOU SPRINGS – Court documents obtained by News5 detailed multiple accounts about how a man was killed early Thursday morning in Manitou Springs.

The responding officers interviewed a witness as well as three people in the apartment where the events began. Police responded to a call about a fight outside of an apartment complex at 601 Manitou Ave. around 12:29 a.m. Thursday.

When they arrived, they found an unresponsive male victim in a kiddie pool full of water in 35-degree weather while snow was falling. Police noticed he was partially submerged in the pool and was “gurgling water.” The responding officer said he was unresponsive and they observed that his face was bloody and his back was covered with bruises.

He was rushed to the hospital where he eventually died from his injuries around 3 p.m. Thursday. The El Paso County Coroner’s office has not yet released the victim’s name to notify next of kin.

The officer then approached the witness who called 911, who said they woke up to the sounds of “flesh hitting flesh” outside of their window.  The witness said they saw their neighbor and another man hit the victim, carried him and threw him in the pool of water. The person positively identified one of the suspects as 33-year-old Freddie Joseph Crespo.

Later that morning around 6:33 a.m., police knocked on Crespo’s door and asked him and two others inside the apartment to talk with police.

Police said Crespo agreed to talk to them. Crespo claimed he found the victim sexually assaulting a woman inside the apartment when he came home. Crespo then claimed that he dragged the man outside and told him he was not welcome at his home anymore. Crespo then told police he didn’t hit the man and he said he thought the victim must have fallen into the pool because he was intoxicated.

Police interviewed another man in the apartment, identified as 25-year-old John Robert Swinehart. Swineheart told another officer that the woman inside the apartment said the eventual victim had tried to rape her before they got home. Swineheart then said he and Crespo punched the victim in the face and stomped on his chest. According to Swineheart, Crespo told him that he was “going to end” the victim. He then said that he helped Crespo throw the man into the kiddie pool before they both returned to the apartment and fell asleep.

Police talked to the woman at the apartment, who told officers the woman “did not feel as if she had been assaulted at all.”

Police noted that both Crespo and Swineheart had bruised knuckles and hands at the time of their interview. Mr. Swineheat told police he had punched a wall when he was recently incarcerated. Crespo said his bruises were from a fight he was involved in earlier in the evening.

The officer said he had been contacted by Crespo around midnight that night who reported being assaulted by an unknown man, but the officer said he didn’t observe bruises on Crespo’s hands at that time. The officer said Crespo also told him earlier that night that he didn’t fight back at all.

Both Crespo and Swineheart are now being held in the El Paso County jail on suspicion of first-degree murder.

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office is now handling the investigation into the crime. Manitou police said this is the first homicide case in city limits since July 2013.

Anyone with additional information about this case should call the El Paso County Dispatch Center at 719-390-5555.