Man Convicted In Videotaped-Beating Sentenced To Life

(March 20, 2007)—District Judge Ralph Strother Wednesday sentenced 34-year-old Tony Swinnie to life in prison for the brutal videotaped beating of a Waco liquor store owner last August.

Jurors deliberated for less than 30 minutes Tuesday afternoon before finding Swinnie guilty of aggravated robbery in the Aug. 3, 2006 beating of liquor store owner Martha Jane Ezra, 62, which was recorded on videotape by a store surveillance camera.

The graphic surveillance video, which figured prominently in the trial, showed the robber smashing a liquor bottle into the Ezra’s head as the woman’s two grandchildren looked on in horror.

Ezra’s 7- and 10-year old grandchildren were not injured, but Ezra was admitted to Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in serious condition.

What the video didn’t show was the robber striking the woman with the store’s cash register before escaping with an undisclosed amount of cash.

The surveillance tape evidently ran out midway through the holdup.

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