John Timothy Singer, named in court as the chief suspect in the shooting death of Corrections Lt. Fred House, talked to officers for an hour and a half shortly after the Jan. 28 shootout in Marion, Summit County, and the statement was tape-recorded.
The statement may be a confession or may implicate others, and the young man's lawyer, G. Fred Metos, is attempting to suppress the tape recording as inadmissible evidence."The determination of voluntariness of a confession or admission involves a totality of the circumstances test," the motion says. That means all circumstances involved in the statement must be examined to make certain it truly is voluntary.
House was killed and Addam Swapp wounded when the 13-day armed standoff between authorities and the Singer and Swapp families ended.
In a motion filed in U.S. District Court, Metos said the recording should not be used in the pending trial of the Singer and Swapp defendants. It was among several motions seeking to have evidence suppressed. Most of the others were filed under seal so that reporters cannot read them.
Metos said psychological pressures may have created a coercive situation. He argued that the statement may not have been voluntary and thus cannot be used in court. The motion asks the court to suppress the tape-recorded evidence.
It notes that the tape recording has a statement that the young man was speaking voluntarily, but the recording does not include the actual reading of his rights under the Supreme Court Miranda warning. The motion says the law officers' bombardment of the Singer farmhouse during night with sound and lights may have deprived John Timothy Singer of sleep, affecting his ability to make a voluntary waiver of Miranda rights.
Whether he will remain a suspect in the killing of House will probably be learned within a week. Associate Deputy Utah Attorney General Paul Warner said the FBI laboratory near Washington, D.C., is completing its ballistic tests on the fatal bullet.
Test results may be mailed to Utah on Friday. Observers speculated that a murder charge could be filed next week.
Vickie Singer, Addam Swapp, John Timothy Singer and Jonathan R. Swapp are charged in a nine-count federal indictment stemming from the bombing of the Kamas LDS Stake Center and the 13-day standoff with law officers that ended with the killing of House. The trial is scheduled to begin April 6.
John Timothy Singer is charged with conspiracy, attempting to kill FBI officers during the shootout, aiding and abetting in the use of a firearm during the shootout, assaulting federal officers in the standoff and using a firearm in the standoff.
In other action, the federal government moved to ensure that the 1979 shooting death of John Singer is not dragged into the 1988 case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Schwendiman filed a motion late Monday afternoon saying the government believes the defendants will seek to introduce evidence relating to the killing of John Singer in 1979. Singer, the husband of Vickie Singer, kept at bay officers who sought to arrest him in a matter involving education of his children and his taking a second wife and her children.
An FBI report concluded that Singer's death was justified because he drew weapons and pointed them at officers attempting to arrest him.
"The government contends that such evidence has no value" in the upcoming trial because it would not help explain any of the matters presently before the court, Schwendiman wrote. "No evidence related to the death of John Singer would provide ground to a defense to any charge of which the defendants stand accused."