VICTORVILLE — The man painted as the mastermind behind the 2014 murder of a Barstow National Guardsman has been convicted.
A jury found Wesley Swank, 29, guilty of murder and attempted murder Wednesday, after less than two hours of deliberation and a trial that lasted six days. Sentencing was scheduled for Sept. 30. Swank could face life without the possibility of parole, per California law.
On Sept. 29, 2014, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department officials found the body of Daniel Yarbrough, 31, after responding to a report of shots heard near the 16200 block of Muni Road in Apple Valley, according to a previous Daily Press report.
Yarbrough — who lived in Victorville and served with a National Guard unit in Barstow — was discovered in a white sedan. He had gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Swank was arrested in January in Apple Valley in connection to the murder after he and his younger brother Logan were fingered as suspects by the Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Detail.
Logan Swank, 21, was arrested by U.S. Marshals in San Antonio, Texas, on Jan. 29, 2015.
Both brothers pleaded not guilty to murder charges, as well as to attempted murder charges in connection to a previous attempt on Yarbrough’s life that took place 12 days before he was killed.
Logan Swank was convicted last November and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in February.
Throughout the nearly two-year ordeal, Wesley Swank was painted as the brainchild of the murder plot both during testimony and by Ashley Swank, who previously told the Daily Press she believed her older brother took advantage of the younger Swank who “would do anything for his brother.”
The brothers laid out “a thoughtful and meticulous plan” in a scheme to collect life insurance, according to a previous Daily Press report. Prior to his conviction, law enforcement officials alleged Wesley Swank, who knew Yarbrough through the military, made himself the beneficiary to Yarbrough's life insurance policy, set up a fake email account, pretended to be Yarbrough and forged signatures.
Later, Wesley Swank lured Yarbrough to an apartment complex in Apple Valley via text messages, where he was shot twice by Logan Swank and killed in his vehicle, authorities testified in May 2015.
Logan Swank was expected to gain between $11,000 to $15,000 for his role, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Detective Mike Flores has testified.
Amid Wesley Swank’s trial, Thomas Bradshaw, 25, was sentenced and subsequently released from jail after pleading no contest to felony permitting another to shoot from a vehicle last October in connection to the first attempt on Yarbrough’s life.
Matthew Cabe can be reached at MCabe@VVDailyPress.com or at 760-951-6254. Follow him on Twitter @DP_MatthewCabe.