Man sentenced for murder of ‘friend’
After pleading guilty to the murder of a man he called his “friend”, Port Arthur native Darian Petry was sentenced to the maximum sentence in late January under an agreement with prosecutors.
Petry was accused of shooting longtime friend Kenneth Swallow, 30, from Port Arthur on August 16, 2020. Petry morphed into officers from the Port Arthur Police Department the day after the shooting and reportedly admitted to being the shooter.
In defense of the admitted killer, attorney Tom Kelley called Diana Petry to the witness stand to speak on her brother’s behalf. According to Diana, her brother suffers from a cognitive disorder.
“He’s very helpful, very kind,” Diana cursed. “He was always there for me — before all of these things happened.”
Petry looked after his mother when she was ill, Diana said, and helped raise nieces and nephews.
Prosecutor Phillip Smith called less favorable witnesses for the defendant, including a detective from the PAPD Major Crimes Unit.
“He said he wanted to confess to the shooting,” the detective said of encountering Petry the day after the shooting, when the defendant arrived at the police station with his brother in tow. “He wanted to talk about shooting and killing someone the night before.
“If I remember correctly, he said he was drunk and they had a fight.”
The detective said Petry appeared to have a diminished memory of the entirety of the murder, but described details that detectives were later able to corroborate with physical evidence at the crime scene.
In addition, Petry admitted that after the crime he took the murder victim’s vehicle and destroyed Swallow’s Cadillac in a sonic in the hours after Swallow was found on the street with multiple gunshot wounds. Petry also showed blood from the murder victim on his shoes and socks, prosecutors detailed.
Sylvia Gorrer, Swallow’s mother, said she wanted to believe Petry’s innocence but was unable to after seeing the evidence proving Petry’s guilt.
“I asked the prosecutors to show me the evidence,” Gorrer said. “When I saw the evidence…”
“Even life would not be enough for you,” she said. “If you’ve done it – and you said you did it – life isn’t enough.”
Before being sentenced to 25 years in prison for the murder of his former boyfriend, Petry apologized for his actions.
“I’m really sorry about that,” Petry said from a jail cell zoomed into court for the criminal hearing. ‘Nothing I can say can bring him back.
“Me and (Swallow) were very close. I didn’t want to do that. Not me.”