Clayton Andrew “Andy” Swanner has been sentenced to 37 years in prison for the slaying of his mother, Cathy Brandenstein of Crossville.
Swanner drew the sentence Wednesday following a day-long hearing in White County Circuit Court in Carmi. White County Circuit Judge T. Scott Webb rendered the sentence.
In October of last year, Swanner entered an open plea of “guilty but mentally ill” to a single charge of first-degree murder. In pleading guilty, Swanner admitted that on Nov. 7, 2019 he started a fire at his family's home in Crossville, shoved his mother into the flames and held her in the fire “knowing that such act created a strong probability of death to her and thereby caused her death.” Brandenstein, 61, was airlifted to the University of Louisville Burn Center in Louisville, Ky. where she succumbed to her injuries on Jan. 20, 2020.
As part of the plea agreement, a number of lesser charges including arson were dismissed. Judge Webb could have sentenced Swanner to anywhere between 20-45 years in prison.
“Swanner will have to serve 100 percent of his sentence,” said White County State's Attorney Denton Aud.
Swanner, now 36, will not be released from prison until he is 73-years-old. He has been held in the White County jail under $1 million bond since his arrest on the night of the fire.