Polygamist Addam Swapp said God revealed to him Friday - just moments before he was sentenced to 15 years in prison - that he will not actually serve any time in prison and that Americans will be destroyed if they don't repent.
U.S. District Chief Judge Bruce Jenkins gave Swapp the 15-year prison sentence, plus five years probation for his role in the January bombing of an LDS stake center in Marion, Summit County, and a 13-day armed standoff with police that left state Corrections Lt. Fred House dead.Jenkins also sentenced Swapp's mother-in-law, Vickie Singer, to five years in prison and five years probation. She burst into tears and said she never taught her children to try to harm anyone or destroy anything.
Jonathan Swapp and John Timothy Singer were to be sentenced later in the day.
Addam Swapp was defiant as he appeared in court. He told Jenkins that the truth of what happened at Marion will yet be manifest.
"It doesn't matter what happens to me." He said Jesus Christ instructed that when men are brought before magistrates, they don't need to think about what they will say in advance and that the right words will come.
Swapp then said, "Something moves within me very strongly - I need to call the people of the state of Utah to repent." He also called the country to repentance and said, "If they do not, they will be destroyed.
"I know I will be delivered from the court. Whatever your sentence will be today is nothing to me . . . I stand unshaken. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."
At that, he walked back from the podium and sat down, but Jenkins directed him to return to the stand for the sentence.
Jenkins and Swapp then discussed laws, and Jenkins said that under the law "basically we ought to leave other people alone."
"I agree," Swapp said. "I wish they would . . . People don't know that I was under siege for two months before the bombing ever happened - that I was being gunned down just like my father-in-law."
That referred to John Singer, a man Swapp never met, who was killed by officers while resisting arrest in 1979.
Vickie Singer was more subdued in court. She said she didn't believe justice was done but thanked God that court-ordered tests said she is not mentally ill. "I just ask you to please release me so I can go home and take care of my family," she said, weeping, to Jenkins.
In an emotional statement, Singer's lawyer Kathryn Collard, said the defendant prayed for people who cast aspersions on her and "even for the people she believed murdered her husband.
Collard stood with her arm around Singer and at times stroked her hair. She said she has become a good friend over the years since she represented her in the John Singer wrongful death suit. That suit was dismissed by U.S. District Judge David K. Winder.
Collard said after the hardships and injustice that Singer has gone through, "If justice requires that she should be in prison, then justice should remove its blindfolds and weep."
Before the sentencing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard N. Lambert painted a vivid picture of seeing slain officer House in his coffin with his wife and children in tears. But Jenkins sternly said, "No one here in this court has ever been charged with the unfortunate death of Mr. House."
He pointed out that there is no federal charge relating to House's killing and said he has read news reports that state officials intend to file charges in state court about that case. He said it was not incumbent on the court or prosecutors to bring up the House death and added that it would be inappropriate to sentence someone on a charge that hasn't been filed.
An interesting legal dilemma occurred because both defendants were convicted of bombing the LDS stake center at Marion and with possessing the bomb. Defense lawyers, however, pointed out that it was actually one crime, and they could not have bombed the stake center without also possessing the bomb.
Jenkins deferred sentencing on the bomb possession charge. He also sentenced Swapp and Singer to the mandatory minimum of five years for each of two charges involving the use of firearms, while the U.S. attorney's office claimed that for second and subsequent violations of that crime, the minimum should be 10 years.
U.S. Attorney Brent D. Ward told the Deseret News that Swapp faced a potential maximum of 75 years in prison and that his office is considering an appeal.
Jenkins gave Swapp no additional prison time for contempt of court, although Ward said he counted 16 separate incidents of contempt when Swapp was cross-examined on the witness stand.
John Bucher, one of Swapp's lawyers, said the 27-year-old defendant has a thoroughly clean past except for the incidents at Marion. He said the attack on the stake center is punishable and that Swapp's "armed intrusion" into Vickie Singers property" was reckless.
Bucher said Swapp profoundly believes "he was directed by his God" and called the attack on the chapel and the standoff "symbolic speech" like that of the civil rights and anti-war movement in the 1960s. He said Swapp came to believe that John Singer was directed by God. Not to have believed would have meant his having to leave the Singer family homestead.
He said Swapp saw any peacemaking with neighbors as compromise or cowardice.
"Given his nature, he could do no other thing" than act against what he thought was evil.
Addam Swapp truly believes he is an instrument of God," Bucher said. "He is a leader. He has charisma."
William Morrison, Swapp's other lawyer, said Swapp carefully placed the explosive in the chapel in a time and place where it was extremely likely to cause no bloodshed.
"How many people have we ever witnessed who are true to their beliefs?" Morrison said. Swapp told him he would not back down and that he is willing to take the punishment.
Ward said the violence could have been avoided but Swapp "willed it to happen."