SANDPOINT - A Priest River man is being held without bail for allegedly stabbing his wife to death and killing their unborn child on Tuesday night.
Jeremy Keith Swanson, 27, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
Swanson made an initial appearance in magistrate court on Wednesday via video feed from the Bonner County Jail.
Judge Barbara Buchanan ordered him held without bond and appointed a public defender to represent him, court records show.
Swanson indicated he wanted to plead to the charges during the hearing, but Buchanan would not allow it. A preliminary hearing to determine if Swanson should be tried in 1st District Court is pending.
Swanson admitted to stabbing Jennifer Swanson to death and was aware she was 15 weeks pregnant with their child, according to testimony given at a probable cause hearing that preceded his initial court appearance.
Jeremy Swanson reported the killings to Bonner Dispatch at 8:45 p.m. They occurred at the couple's home in the 300 block of Harriet Street in Priest River.
"The motive is not all that clear," Bonner County Prosecutor Louis Marshall said after Wednesday's hearings.
The couple's 20-month old daughter was in the home at the time of the killings, but was not harmed. She is in the custody of relatives and a court order was entered that prohibits Jeremy Swanson from being in contact with the child.
There were reports Wednesday that Jennifer Swanson, also 27, was pregnant with twins, but Marshall said those reports could not be immediately confirmed.
Jennifer Swanson's autopsy is scheduled for today.
Jeremy Swanson was interviewed late Tuesday night and again on Wednesday afternoon, according to unsealed probable cause hearing testimony.
Sheriff's detectives testified that Jeremy Swanson initially stated the killings were spontaneous.
"He wanted to make it stop," Det. Sgt. Gary Johnston said, referring to the arguing.
However, investigators discovered a computer in the home showed at least three Internet search histories for methods of killing somebody with an ice pick and knife.
Confronted with the discovery, Jeremy Swanson admitted in the second interview that the killings were planned, detectives testified. Jeremy Swanson told investigators he left his job at dietary supplement manufacturer Thorne Research in Dover, drove to Priest River and purchased an ice pick at a hardware store.
Jeremy Swanson told detectives he picked up sandwiches for he and his wife and returned home, where an argument ensued.
"He tells us he's actually doing this research on how to kill with an ice pick while she's in the living room and they're in the middle of an argument," Det. Phil Stella testified.
Jennifer Swanson eventually retired to their bedroom due to morning sickness and Jeremy Swanson told detectives he later attacked her with an ice pick and a kitchen knife as she lay in bed.
"He continued to stab her until she didn't move anymore," Det. Sgt. Gary Johnston testified, citing the defendant's statements.
Charging documents state Jennifer Swanson was stabbed multiple times in the head, chest and back. The pick and a medium-sized kitchen knife were recovered from the body, detectives told the court.
Jeremy Swanson said he was not under the influence of prescription medications, illegal drugs or alcohol at the time of the killing and detectives said he did not appear to be impaired during the first interview.
"He was sitting there in a kind of semi-catatonic state," Johnston said of Swanson's demeanor.