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2 Marines, alleged accomplice held in assault of pregnant woman

July 24, 2012 | 10:51 am

Two Marines from Camp Pendleton and an alleged accomplice were being held Tuesday for investigation in the assault and robbery of a pregnant woman who later gave birth to a premature baby, Redding police said.

One of the Marines reportedly is the father of the baby boy and former boyfriend of the victim, authorities said.

The arrests were announced last week in the June 20 incident, which took place on the River Trail near the Sundial Bridge in Redding, about 150 miles south of the Oregon border. According to police, one of two women who originally said they were robbed turned out to be involved in the plot and had been texting their location to one of the Marines just before the assault.

Authorities said they obtained phone records of the alleged accomplice, Erica Swann, 29, of Anderson, and found at her home items previously reported stolen in the incident.

Marines Lance Swann, 20, of Laguna Niguel, and Jeffrey Walton, 20, of Ventura, were transferred from Camp Pendleton’s Naval Criminal Investigative Services to a Redding jail as authorities discuss whether they should face civilian or military trial, said Capt. Alex Lim, a public affairs officer for the military base.

The two lance corporals, who both enlisted in 2009, face charges of conspiracy, robbery and felony assault.

Lance Swann, who is the father of the newborn child, will also be charged with spousal abuse, authorities said. He is the cousin of Erica Swann and the former boyfriend of the victim, Nicole Vultaggio, 18, who was eight months pregnant at the time, according to a police statement. It did not suggest a motive.

The premature baby was reported to be healthy.

Erica Swann has pleaded not guilty in the case and was being held without bail, according to the Record Searchlight in Redding.

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-- Larry Gordon

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