Killer’s mother asks for charity

The mother of executed killer Bobby Wayne Swisher is soliciting donations to memorialize and cremate her son.

The request is listed at the end of Swisher’s obituary.

Sandi McNees, the mother of the victim Swisher raped and killed on Feb. 5, 1997, had no comment about the “Bobby Swisher Funeral Fund.”

But McNees, 52, of Stuarts Draft, noted that a similar fund was used for a funeral and burial of her 22-year-old daughter, Dawn McNees Snyder.

Unlike Swisher’s fund, however, McNees said an independent third party administered the account and that no family members had access. The money that was left over was put into a college fund for Snyder’s daughter, who is now 9.

“I never touched that money,” McNees said Thursday. “I had a private person in charge of the fund. I and nobody in Dawn’s family had anything to do with that fund.

“She did not have any insurance,” McNees said of her daughter. “Being 22, that was not a high priority in her life.”

Swisher’s mother, Blanch Swisher of Haymarket, said she — and not a third party — will oversee the fund and use it for a memorial service Sunday and cremation.

“Then I’ll be taking him home,” Blanch Swisher said.

Under Virginia law, inmates who die in prison are taken to the state medical examiner’s office in Richmond for a routine autopsy.

In Swisher’s case, the autopsy is to prove that he died in the prescribed manner ordered by the court. An official at the medical examiner’s office said Thursday that Swisher’s death certificate reads: “Lethal injection due to judicial execution” Tuesday.

If Swisher’s next of kin could not have been located, then the state Department of Corrections would have cremated him and disposed of his remains, agency spokesman Larry Traylor said.

The medical examiner’s office first tries to locate next of kin. If that fails, the sheriff of the county where the next of kin is believed to be living tries to track down relatives. That county is responsible for burying or cremating the body and paying for it should the closest relative be indigent.

Swisher’s mother decided at least several weeks ago to set up an account in her son’s name at a Stuarts Draft bank.

“The state’s not gonna pay for it,” she said. “I didn’t have a life-insurance policy on the boy.”

Any money left over either will go to her church, to the victim’s family or to a little girl her son had been sponsoring abroad, Blanch Swisher said.

“Bobby was sponsoring a child –one of the children overseas,” she said. “He sent the money he made working in prison, 32 cents a day, and took out what he could from his account and sent the rest to her. I didn’t know it until his spiritual adviser told me.”

Of her plans for any leftover funds, she said: “It’s nobody’s business but mine.”

J. Todd Foster is managing editor at The (Waynesboro) News Virginian. Contact him at [email protected]