Orchestrator of infamous Singer-Swapp standoff released from prison after 25 years

Published: Tuesday, July 9 2013 9:00 a.m. MDT

The Utah State Prison, Tuesday, July 9, 2013. Addam Swapp was released from custody Tuesday in Sanpete County.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

DRAPER — After serving a combined 25 years in state and federal prison, the man responsible for one of Utah's most infamous standoffs was released from prison Tuesday morning.

Addam Swapp, incarcerated since 1988 for orchestrating the Jan. 16, 1988, bombing of a stake center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Marion, Summit County, and the shooting death of Utah Department of Corrections Lt. Fred House, walked out of the Sanpete County Jail at 7 a.m. Tuesday. He was picked up by family members, according to the sheriff's office.

Swapp served 17 years in federal prison before beginning a one- to 15-year sentence for his state conviction of manslaughter in 2006. He was incarcerated in an Arizona prison instead of the Utah State Prison, where some of House's relatives and colleagues still work.

Swapp, now 51, was transferred back to the Utah State Prison from Arizona on July 3 and was taken to the Sanpete County Jail on Friday in preparation for his release.

"We did that basically because it's closer to his family. It's more convenient for them to pick him up. And also just to basically accommodate his needs," said Department of Corrections spokesman Steve Gehrke.

Swapp will now be on parole and is required to check in with Adult Probation and Parole. He will have an agent assigned to check up on him at his home periodically.

In Swapp's hometown of Fairview, Sanpete County, a large sign that read "Welcome home, Addam" hung on the front porch of his family's log cabin home.

Heidi Johnson, a lifelong Fairview resident who lives two doors down from the cabin, said she knows the Swapp family well.

"I hope he can come home to peace," Johnson said. "Because I feel like he's paid his dues."

After the church bombing, the Singer-Swapp clan, as they became known, were involved in a 13-day standoff with law enforcement officers that ended in a shootout and House's death.

Although Swapp did not actually shoot House, he accepted responsibility for the man's death, saying that it never would have happened if not for his actions.

Last year, during a parole hearing, House's widow, Ann House, submitted a letter to the parole board saying she believed Swapp had served his time.

Tuesday, she reiterated those feelings in a prepared statement.

"I believe that in the past 25 ½ years, Addam Swapp has had time to ponder his actions and beliefs. He indicates that he feels great remorse for the events that led to my husband's shooting. This has helped me come to a place of forgiveness and peace with his release. There has been much suffering by both of our families in the past years. Addam deserves a chance to reverse the damage done by doing good and now being an asset to his family. "

During his last parole hearing, Swapp said being incarcerated had actually been beneficial because it exposed him to so many different cultures. Swapp said he would likely move back to the Fairview area where he still has many family members.

The Singer-Swapp saga began in 1979 when polygamist John Singer was shot and killed by police officers attempting to serve a warrant. Swapp, who was in high school at the time, admitted that the shooting had a great impact on him. He ended up becoming part of the family and took two of Singer's daughters as his polygamous wives.

It was during this time that Swapp admitted he developed "very, very strong religious beliefs" and thought that somehow Singer was guiding him. After an issue with water rights arose, Swapp planted 18 sticks of dynamite in the LDS meetinghouse.

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