A preliminary hearing for three men charged with killing state Corrections Lt. Fred House has been scheduled Sept. 27.
Addam Swapp, Jonathan Swapp and John Timothy Singer appeared Tuesday before 3rd Circuit Judge Maurice Jones on charges of second-degree murder, a first-degree felony.The men were brought before Jones separately. Each was read the charge, then was appointed counsel.
The Swapp brothers appeared unusually solemn, while the wheelchair-bound Singer, sporting a beard now, smiled at his sister, Charlotte, and a dozen friends in the courtroom.
Jones appointed Bill Morrison to represent Addam Swapp and Fred Metos to defend Singer. The judge appointed Bruce Savage for Jonathan Swapp, but Jonathan Swapp objected. "I have a problem with that," he said. "There's a conflict between myself and Mr. Savage."
Savage represented Jonathan Swapp during federal court proceedings in which he was convicted of shooting at federal agents.
Jones said Savage therefore was the only alternative for a court-appointed attorney other than Summit County's regular legal defender.
"I want Mr. (Charles) Spafford," said Jonathan Swapp. Spafford then stood before the judge and agreed to be the counsel, saying, "We've spoken to Mr. Swapp and we're committed to his cause." The judge approved the change in counsel. It was not clear, however, whether Spafford would be paid by Summit County or by his client.
The three are charged with the death of House, who was gunned down the morning of Jan. 28 on the Singer property in Marion, Summit County, following a 13-day standoff with law enforcement officials that began with the bombing of the Kamas LDS Stake Center.
House, a dog handler for the Utah Department of Corrections, was attempting to release his German shepherd, which was supposed to capture the Swapp brothers, who had left the Singer home to feed goats.
According to federal court testimony, Singer, firing from his bedroom window, shot the round that struck House in the torso.
Prosecutor Creighton Horton of the attorney general's office filed a motion with Jones to have further proceedings heard in Salt Lake County, where the defendants are jailed. Jones said he will grant the motion only if each defendant and his attorney agrees to it
The preliminary hearing, which is to determine if there is probable cause to support the allegations, will likely be postponed because of Jonathan Swapp's change in attorneys.
If at the preliminary hearing the judge finds that probable cause exists, the defendant will be bound over to 3rd District Court for trial. If convicted, the Swapp brothers and Singer could face prison time above and beyond what they face as a result of their convictions on several federal offenses.
Addam Swapp was sentenced earlier this month in federal court to 15 years for bombing the stake center and shooting at federal agents. Jonathan Swapp and Singer were sentenced to 10 years for shooting at federal agents.
In addition to the murder charge, Addam Swapp faces felony state charges related to a confrontation in October 1987 with the Summit County sheriff and the sheriff's lieutenant.