AUSTIN (KXAN) — A jury heard opening statements Tuesday in the murder trial of Dedric Dixon, the man accused of shooting and killing Carlos Swist in 2016 after an argument at a convenience store.
Dixon has pleaded not guilty.
On March 1, 2016, at around 7 a.m., Austin police officers were dispatched to a single vehicle traffic crash in the 4600 block of Springdale Rd. When officers arrived on the scene, they found a white van on fire and Swist, 43, inside. Swist was working for a florist company and was driving a company car at the time of the incident.
Investigators found bullet holes in the van Swist was driving and determined he was shot and killed prior to the fiery crash. He was shot in the head.
Jurors saw video Tuesday taken by crime scene investigators that showed the extent of fire damage at the scene of the crash and bullet holes in Swist’s company van. Much of the interior of the vehicle was charred.
A detective with the Austin Police Department testified that at the time of the crash, Swist still had his foot on the accelerator. The detective said the van’s continuously spinning tires caught the brush on fire underneath the vehicle.
According to an arrest affidavit, Swist’s girlfriend said before the crash, he called her to tell her about an altercation he had with a man at the corner store. The clerk told police he remembered Swist and an unknown man, later identified as Dixon, 46, were arguing over money that had fallen on the floor. The clerk noted Swist was in no way the aggressor and that both men were regular customers at the store.
The prosecution also showed the jury surveillance video taken at the convenience store, illustrating the confrontation APD says ultimately led up to Swist’s murder. Prosecutors say the two men got into an argument over a $5 bill that had been dropped inside the store.
Surveillance video from various stores showed Dixon followed Swist’s car, according to court documents. Police arrested Dixon a few days after Swist’s death and charged him with murder.
The defense reserved their opening statements Tuesday, meaning they could be heard after the state presents their case.
The trial is happening in Judge David Crain’s court.
Testimony is expected to continue Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.
Family members told KXAN in 2016 that while Swist made some mistakes in his past, he was turning his life around prior to his death. They said he deeply loved his 4-year-old daughter. In 2005, he pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to five years in prison, he was also convicted of aggravated kidnapping in 2010.