DNA under victim’s nails leads to arrest in 2000 Indianapolis killing

A northern Indiana man has been charged in the 2000 killing of a man found dead in an Indianapolis hotel room after his DNA matched DNA found beneath the victim’s fingernails, prosecutors said.

William O. Swain of Elkhart was charged last week with murder, felony murder and criminal deviate conduct in the slaying of Arthur McPhaul, 38, who was found fatally strangled in a hotel room on Indianapolis’ south side in October 2000.

An autopsy also determined McPhaul had been sexually assaulted, according to charging documents.

Investigators retrieved a suspect’s DNA from under McPhaul’s fingernails, but they couldn’t find a match. However, they got a break when that DNA matched DNA from Swain that was entered into a database following his 2018 Elkhart County conviction on a theft charge, Marion County prosecutors said.

Detectives interviewed Swain, 54, in Elkhart last fall, at which time he denied that he had known McPhaul and said he had never visited the hotel where McPhaul’s body was found.

During that interview, police collected more DNA from Swain, which investigators said matched DNA found at the crime scene.

A jury trial has been set for May 18 before Marion Superior Court Criminal Division 6 Judge Mark Stoner.

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