Attorneys for the Swapp brothers say the murder trial for the three men charged with killing corrections officer Lt. Fred House should be moved out of Summit County - and possibly outside the state.
Addam Swapp, Jonathan Swapp and John Timothy Singer were charged Wednesday with second-degree murder in the Jan. 28 death of House. House was killed during a shootout following a 13-day standoff at the Singer farm in Marion, Summit County.Meanwhile, state arson and bomb charges against Addam Swapp and Vickie Singer will be dropped, according to the Summit County attorney.
Grant W.P. Morrison, who represented Addam Swapp in the federal trial, said that, assuming he is appointed to represent Swapp in the state trial also, he will ask for a change of venue.
The assumption is a safe one, as the defense lawyers will probably continue in this case, too.
Bruce Savage, who represented Jonathan Swapp in the federal trial, said, "It's my understanding that the attorneys from the federal case will also handle the case" in state court.
They were unofficially asked to continue their representation because it would be more economical. He said the trials involve mountains of evidence with which the lawyers have become well acquainted.
In fact, two men vital to the prosecution's side in federal court _ Assistant U.S. Attorney David Schwendiman and Assistant Utah Attorney General Creighton C. Horton II, who was "on loan" to the federal government _ will help prosecute the state's case.
Morrison said the change of venue would be requested because Addam Swapp "can't get a fair trial in Summit County or Wasatch County or any of the neighboring counties up there." People in those areas are "too close to the events," he said _ meaning the bombing, siege and shooting in January at Marion.
Defense lawyers may consider asking to remove the trial from Utah, he said. He will speak soon to Addam Swapp to see what he thinks about it.
Asked how Addam Swapp feels now that U.S. District Chief Judge Bruce S. Jenkins has sentenced him to 15 years in prison, Morrison said Swapp is doing "real well. He's in good spirits."
Savage said it is a change of venue is likely, that a change of venue will happen, even if the defense doesn't file a request for one immediately.
Possibly, the court will try to impanel a jury, Savage said. But if that turns out to be impossible, the trial's location would be changed.
Meanwhile, Summit County Attorney Bob Adkins said Wednesday he will drop three state felony charges filed in January against Addam Swapp and Vickie Singer in connection with the bombing of the LDS chapel in Marion.
Swapp and Mrs. Singer were already convicted of similar charges in federal court, and it would be double jeopardy to prosecute them on similar charges in state court, he said.
However, two state felony and four misdemeanor charges filed against Swapp in connection with a confrontation he had last October with two sheriff's officers will still be pursued, Adkins said.