Attorneys for the Singer family say the Singers had nothing to do with the break-in and attempted arson this week at the same LDS chapel that was bombed last January.
Summit County sheriff's detectives are still investigating the incident, which occurred late Monday at the Kamas LDS Stake Center, a half-mile west of the Singer property in Marion.Kevin Gunnarson, 34, West Valley City, was arrested about 11 p.m. Monday and booked into the Summit County Jail for investigation of burglary. Justice of the Peace LaMarr Gunn released Gunnarson on his own recognizance Tuesday afternoon.
Gunnarson had been staying at the Singer farm for the past three weeks, doing some house painting and helping around the property, said Steve Kuhnhausen, an attorney and friend of the Singer family. Kuhnhausen said Gunnarson had sought help from the Singers in overcoming an alcohol problem.
The man was welcomed by the Singers, especially because there was a lot that needed to be done around the property in the absence of Vickie Singer, her son John Timothy Singer, Addam Swapp and his brother, Jonathan, all of whom are in jail after being convicted in federal court on charges relating to the bombing last January. Also, two weeks ago, Heidi Singer suffered a broken ankle when a horse fell on her. And Vickie's teenage sons Benjamin and Israel are working away from the home to help support the family.
But Kuhnhausen denied that the Singers were behind any break-in or attempted arson of the chapel.
"The Singer family is very sensitive to what's occurring in federal court and would do nothing, consciously or unconsciously, to jeopardize that situation," he said. Vickie Singer is appealing her sentences on bombing charges and has filed a motion to be released pending the appeal.
Bill Morrison, attorney for Addam Swapp, agreed. "Addam categorically denies the family had any involvement. Whoever did it did it on their own."
Morrison said he has a hard time believing Gunnarson had anything to do with the most recent crime at the chapel. "I can't imagine him doing that. He's a very quiet, bashful man. He's very reserved and inoffensive."
Summit County Attorney Bob Adkins, although not confirming the arrested person was Gunnarson, did confirm there was a crime committed Monday evening at the Kamas LDS Stake Center.
An audible alarm was sounded about 10 p.m. Monday after a burglar broke through a plywood door in the rear of the chapel. A neighbor who heard the alarm notified the sheriff's office. Deputies arrested a man in the area a few moments later.
"He wasn't arrested on the premises," Adkins said.
Nothing was taken from the chapel, and the only damage was to the door. But material found inside the chapel indicated a possible arson attempt, the county attorney said.
Kuhnhausen said he believes law enforcement officers and others have overreacted to Monday's incident. "This whole thing seems to be paranoid overreaction by the authorities, the community and the media. They've tried to convict (Gunnarson) with guilt by association."
The attorney said the fact Gunnarson went to the Singers for help and was accepted shows that the Singers are not the "self-righteous, holier-than-thou, intolerant people they have been portrayed to be."
Monday's incident at the chapel came on the eve of an arraignment for Addam Swapp, Jonathan Swapp and John Timothy Singer, who are charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Corrections Lt. Fred House.
House was killed Jan. 28 at the end of a 13-day standoff at the Singer property following the bombing of the chapel.