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Jury is undecided on verdict in slaying

Published Oct. 18, 2005

Late Wednesday, jurors continued to debate whether to convict James R. Swinney of the premeditated murder of his mother. Swinney is accused of strangling Carolyn Swinney, 55, in her south Tampa home March 9.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys agree that Swinney strangled the James Monroe Junior High School teacher after she refused to give him $20.

But defense attorneys say the crime was not premeditated, but a crime of passion.

According to a taped confession played Tuesday, Swinney said he "lost it" when his mother kneed him in the groin after he slapped her.

If jurors agree with the defense, Swinney could be convicted of a lesser crime.