Suspect in Gabbiee Swainson's disappearance wants bond on federal charge

Freddie Grant (Source: Richland County Sheriff's Department)
Freddie Grant (Source: Richland County Sheriff's Department)
Gabrielle Swainson
Gabrielle Swainson

COLUMBIA, SC (AP) - The suspect in the abduction of a Columbia teen is asking to be released on bond, but federal prosecutors argue in court documents filed this week that the man's extensive criminal past - including a one-day escape from military authorities - should keep him behind bars.

During a search of Freddie Grant's house for Gabbiee Swainson, a 15-year-old Richland County girl missing since August, authorities found bullets and shotgun shells - ammunition Grant is not allowed to have as a convicted felon.

In court documents, attorney John Delgado says Grant, 52, would consent to house arrest and any restrictions on phone or other means of digital communication if he's granted bond on a federal ammunition charge. But prosecutors say Grant should stay in jail because of a decades-long criminal history that includes convictions for drug, assault and criminal domestic violence dating to 1980.

That year, Grant was arrested while serving with the U.S. Army in Korea and charged with assault for cutting a man's face with a razor blade, according to prosecutors. While he was being arrested, Grant kicked an officer in the chest. A few months later, while being transported by Army officials, Grant took an M-16 from one of the officers and kidnapped them at gunpoint, prosecutors wrote.

Captured the next day, Grant was also charged with kidnapping. During a court-martial, Grant was convicted of charges including kidnapping and assault and sentenced to nearly nine years of hard labor at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.

In 1991, Grant was arrested on a train in Florida with a loaded gun and cocaine. The next year, he was convicted of drug possession, resisting arrest and carrying a concealed weapon in that state, as well as cocaine possession in South Carolina.

In South Carolina, Grant has prior convictions for shoplifting in 1995, driving under suspension in 2006 and criminal domestic violence in 2011, prosecutors wrote.

In court this week, a judge agreed to delay his federal trial until January to give his new attorney more time to review evidence. But Delgado also said that his client might plead guilty to the federal charge if he loses an argument to suppress certain evidence.

Local authorities also lodged a kidnapping charge against Grant after Gabbiee's blood was found on duct tape near his home. Authorities have said he had dated Gabbiee's mother and used a key he'd claimed to have lost to enter the family's home and take the girl.

Gabbiee was last seen by her mother at around 4 a.m. on Aug. 18. Elvia Swainson has said she saw her daughter before she left for work in the northeast Columbia suburbs. When the mother returned home several hours later, Gabbiee's alarm clock was ringing, and her only child was gone.

Authorities have said the teen's clothes and purse were at the home.

If convicted on the ammunition charge, Grant could face a possible life sentence if a judge determines that his prior convictions make Grant an armed career criminal, according to federal prosecutors.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.