Man wanted in estranged wife's boyfriend's death arrested in Cha - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Man wanted in estranged wife's boyfriend's death arrested in Charlotte

(Mark Davenport | WBTV) (Mark Davenport | WBTV)
25-year-old Robert Joseph Swedlund 25-year-old Robert Joseph Swedlund
IREDELL COUNTY, NC (WBTV) -

A man who was wanted after his estranged wife's boyfriend was found dead outside of an animal hospital in Troutman early Tuesday morning was arrested, investigators say.

Jeffrey Allen Gillespie, 33, was arrested in uptown Charlotte around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday in connection to the death of 25-year-old Robert Joseph Swedlund.

Family members told WBTV that Swedlund had been dating Gillespie's estranged wife, Leann Gillespie, for the last three years.

Swedlund's step brother, Jordan Lippard, said he was well aware that Gillespie did not like Swedlund, and that Gillespie had made threats in the past.

“I've been calling him just to say 'hey,' check on him and stuff, and it would turn into a two or three-hour conversation,” Lippard said. “You know, just back and forth about, you know, just the troubles he's going through.”

Lippard also said that Swedlund was a loving father to his girlfriend's children. Swedlund, Lippard said, will be missed.

“It's sad. I mean that, you know, there isn't one person in this world who would think of doing any harm to him. But the one person who is jealous of him in the world gets to decide whether he lives or dies,” Lippard told WBTV.

Wednesday morning, Iredell County investigators and Charlotte-Mecklenburg police were conducting surveillance on someone associated with Gillespie, when Gillespie appeared. Officials followed him to an office building, waited for the car he was in to park, then approached and arrested him without incident.

Swedlund was found outside of the Troutman Animal Hospital, on the 600-block of Murdock Road, by a newspaper delivery girl, according to Iredell County Sheriff Darren Campbell. A woman called police prior to the discovery, around 1 a.m., and said that her estranged husband sent her a text saying that he shot her boyfriend, Campbell says.

Deputies say they tried to call Swedlund, but had no luck getting in touch with him. That's when officials say the call came in from the newspaper delivery girl, just before 3 a.m.

Swedlund's body was found in a paved portion of the parking lot and the vehicle he drove there was found parked in a gravel lot behind the office, Campbell said.

Surveillance footage shows Swedlund and Gillespie meeting outside of the animal hospital. Police believe the two set up the meeting and say Swedlund arrived first. "We're going to watch the video. We do have warrants for our suspect already. We'll be following up throughout the day with investigators and our guys definitely trying to check houses and locate him and communicate with other agencies like we already have this morning," Campbell said in a press conference Tuesday morning.

Deputies say Swedlund and Gillespie are both from Troutman but have no known connection to the Troutman Animal Hospital. Gillespie has ties to the areas of Charlotte and Virginia.

Deputies cannot confirm Swedlund's cause of death until an autopsy is performed.

Campbell said Troutman is a quiet area and he can't remember the last time something like this happened there. A neighbor who lives across from the Troutman Animal Hospital, Angie Cash, agrees and said she was shocked to learn what happened.

"It's a safe neighborhood. And we've lived here for 50 years, so I don't remember any other homicides in the area," Cash said. "It was a shock to know that someone had actually been killed over there."

Warrants were issued on Tuesday for Gillespie's arrest. Detectives plan to take Gillespie to the Iredell County Sheriff's Office by Wednesday evening.

According to the Iredell County Sheriff's Office, Leann Gillespie filed a domestic violence protection order against Jeffrey Gillespie in October. Jeffrey violated the order, communicated threats, and made harassing phone calls.

He is scheduled to appear in court on the morning of Feb. 13 for the charges.

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