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Man admits cleaning bloody knife linked to slaying
James Ross Swank, 39, appeared before District Judge G. Todd Baugh and admitted that on Feb. 8 he "moved a knife at the scene of a crime."

A man who washed a bloody knife alleged to have been used to kill a Billings man pleaded guilty Monday to felony tampering.

James Ross Swank, 39, appeared before District Judge G. Todd Baugh and admitted that on Feb. 8 he "moved a knife at the scene of a crime."

Swank remains in the county jail on $75,000 bond. He is scheduled to be sentenced next week.

Prosecutors say the knife was used to kill 30-year-old Seth Drinkwalter, who was found in a Second Avenue South apartment. Drinkwalter's girlfriend, 24-year-old Emily James, has been charged with deliberate homicide; her trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 3. She remains at the county jail on a $250,000 bond.

Swank told investigators that he became involved in the case when he heard a noise from a neighboring apartment and went to check it out. When he arrived at the apartment, he was met by James, who he said asked him to take the knife and get rid of it because she was on probation, court records state.

Swank took the knife to his apartment and put it in the kitchen sink. The knife remained there while he spoke to a police officer, but Swank then washed it clean of blood. He told the judge Monday that he showed police the knife two or three hours later.

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