Man charged with double homicide in Spotsylvania testifies in his defense | Crime, police and fire


The man who shot and killed two Spotsylvania County brothers in 2020 said he only did so after someone in their car pointed a gun at him.

“I had no choice,” Danny Lee Huffman told a jury Wednesday at Spotsylvania Circuit Court. “I had to protect myself and my son.”

Huffman, 50, is charged with two counts of first degree murder and two counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony. Fred Swick, 39, and Joe Swick, 38, were killed inside a Camaro following a road rage incident that ended in mailboxes in the Fox area Short trot. The Swicks were downed a combined total of 12 times.

The jury is expected to hear closing arguments on Thursday and begin deliberations.

According to testimony, Huffman was returning from his girlfriend’s home in King George on the evening of July 4 following a heated argument involving health issues and her ex-husband.

Huffman said he was a few miles from his home in rural Spotsylvania when he noticed a car in the Lawyers and Granite Springs road area half on and half off the road. He said he simply asked the occupants if they needed help when the driver gave him the middle finger and got out of the car.

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Huffman said the man then approached his vehicle and continued to come even after being warned that Huffman was armed. Huffman said he fired into a ditch and the man returned to his vehicle.

While the driver was outside the car, Huffman said he noticed three middle fingers inside the car pointing at him. When asked if he was sure there were three people with the Camaro, Huffman replied, “unless one of them was three-handed, there were three people.”

Shortly after, Huffman said he was at his mailbox when the same car pulled up near him. Huffman said someone in the car threatened him, saying “I’ve got fireworks for you and your son,” then he noticed a black gun pointed at him from inside the car.

“It freaked me out,” Huffman said. “My son could have been killed.”

Huffman told police the third attacker got away with the gun. When asked how a third person could have fit in a small back seat full of groceries, Huffman replied, “I don’t know, but I know what I saw.”

Huffman’s son, Austin Huffman, 19, testified for the prosecution earlier in the trial and gave a different version of the incident than his father. The younger Huffman said the altercation broke out after the Swicks began “checking the brakes” on his father and shouting obscenities.

Austin Huffman initially supported his father’s story about a third person in the Camaro, but he told the jury it was a fabrication his father told him to accept.

Defense attorneys Gretchen Taylor and Michael Kessler on Wednesday attacked Austin Huffman’s credibility. Several witnesses, including Austin Huffman’s brother and grandfather, testified that he had a reputation for lying and exaggerating.

“Everyone knows to take what Austin says with a grain of salt,” older brother Andrew Huffman said.

Commonwealth barrister Travis Bird and prosecutor Kelly Green spent much of the day attacking Danny Huffman’s credibility. Prosecutors pointed to numerous inconsistencies between Huffman’s story on Wednesday and what he told police immediately after the shooting.

Huffman admitted Wednesday that he hadn’t seen the third man at the mailboxes, but thought he was there because he had been at the initial altercation minutes earlier.

Additionally, Huffman initially claimed he was stabbed, but Wednesday said the pain he felt that night may have stemmed from the fact that he had entered part of a car. Huffman said the darkness and the fireworks made it hard to see clearly.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

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