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'I hope you can make peace with yourself' | Spirit Lake man who killed girlfriend gets 20 years to life

55-year-old John Dalton pleaded guilty in March to the second-degree murder of his girlfriend, 56-year-old Tina Swor.
Credit: KCSO

SPIRIT LAKE, Idaho — A Spirit Lake man was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison on Friday for shooting and killing his girlfriend in 2021.

55-year-old John Dalton pleaded guilty in March to the second-degree murder of his girlfriend, 56-year-old Tina Swor. On Friday, a district court sentenced Dalton to 20 years fixed to life with credit for time served.

In August 2021, Swor's family requested a welfare check after they didn't hear from her for several days. She was ultimately found dead inside her home approximately two days after she was killed, according to Spirit Lake police.

Dalton was reportedly in a long-term relationship with Swor and hadn’t been seen since the night of her death, according to police. This led him to become a person of interest in the case.

Police later received a report that Dalton had been spotted in St. Maries. A deputy with the Benewah County Sheriff’s Office located and detained him.

A search of Dalton’s hotel room reportedly produced evidence related to Swor’s death. After conducting interviews, Kootenai County sheriff’s deputies obtained a warrant for Dalton’s arrest in August 2021.

He was charged with first-degree murder, a crime punishable by the death penalty. He ultimately pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in March as part of a plea deal and reportedly admitted to killing Swor in court.

In court Friday, Swor's family was able to make a statement ahead of Dalton's sentencing. Her brother, step-father and children gave statements.

Swor's brother called Dalton evil and said his life has been dramatically altered by his sister's death.

"Our family is forever ruined. John didn't just take my sister's life, he took all of ours," he said. "I don't think you can ever be rehabilitated, I hope you can make peace with yourself."

Swor's stepfather said he felt as though the relationship between Swor and Dalton was going to end with violence.

"She was afraid of losing everything if she left him," he said. "It became apparent that he was a braggart and had no emotion for anyone except himself. It has had a huge [effect] on our family and Tina's friends. I hope and pray he gets life in prison without parole."

Swor's children both read victim impact statements and her son asked the court to sentence Dalton to life in prison without parole.

"He will re-offend if he gets out," her son said.

Dalton will be eligible for parole in 2043.

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