A box of dynamite minus 85 sticks, blasting caps, an arsenal of 23 guns, booby traps of treble fishhooks strung on translucent lines, and a nail-studded board hidden beneath snow were discovered when federal agents finally took over the Singer-Swapp compound.
That was testimony Tuesday and Wednesday from agents of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in the trial of Vickie Singer, Addam Swapp, John Timothy Singer and Jonathan Swapp.The 23 guns, ranging from revolvers to semiautomatic pistols, .22-caliber pump- and bolt-action rifles to M-1 carbines and illegal sawed-off shotguns, were spread one by one on an evidence table before the jury Wednesday as Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Special Agent Lawrence Steve Meadows Jr. testified about where each weapon was found in the Singer compound. Many were in the living room, and many more were in John Timothy Singer's bedroom in the main house, the Vickie Singer home.
They also entered as evidence the .30-caliber carbine that prosecutors believe killed Corrections Lt. Fred House, Meadows said.
Prosecutors also entered into evidence a total of 8,304 rounds of ammunition, nearly all of it found in the home's living room and Timothy Singer's bedroom. However, some was found on top of a washing machine in the kitchen, behind which a .44-caliber revolver was recovered.
In a corner of the living room, a circle about one yard across was formed by ammunition set in rows along the floor, he said.
Nearly all of the guns were loaded, including those found outside, where Addam Swapp and Jonathan Swapp were when the the Jan. 28 shootout ended. House was killed when he and another officer were trying to use guard dogs to subdue Addam and Jonathan Swapp. Twenty-four rounds of ammunition were found on Addam Swapp's clothing.
The lawyer for John Timothy Singer, who was named in court as the firer of the fatal shot, suggested his client may have shot at a dog and hit House accidentally perhaps by a ricochet.
A big "what if" that emerged from the testimony so far concerns the case of dynamite and the blasting caps the government says were used to blow up the Kamas LDS Stake Center in Marion, Summit County. The Jan. 16 blast was the opening round in the standoff that resulted in the killing of House 13 days later.
IRECO Inc. distributor James Michael Clark, North Salt Lake, said Addam Swapp bought a 50-pound case of dynamite from him on Dec. 30. Swapp told Clark that he and his brother wanted to blast out rocks for a water line.
Clark was cross-examined by G. Fred Metos, lawyer for John Timothy Singer. Metos asked whether Swapp called and asked to return the dynamite and blasting caps, and get his money back.
Clark said that was true. "I told him that's fine," he said.
But when Swapp returned with the dynamite and blasting caps, Clark couldn't take them back "because the boxes had been opened." The haunting, unanswerable question is what would have happened if the boxes hadn't been opened.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Special Agent Jerry Andrew Taylor, stationed in California, said the explosion that demolished the stake center was so powerful that it instantly blasted out a crater "through the flooring, through the cement, and into the rock surface itself 20 inches, 30 inches."
This crater was about 21/2-by-11/2-feet across at the bottom, opening out above that. Debris shot out at nearly twice the speed of a .45-caliber bullet, he said.
"A tremendous amount of debris is strewn about," he said, examining photographs of the center's interior. The pictures looked like the interior of a church bombed in World War II. Walls were cracked and damaged, large chunks of concrete were blown into offices, the roof had lifted, and several large holes blown in the roof.
Anyone inside would have been killed or severely injured, he said.
Taylor was the supervisor of a five-man bureau search team that combed the rubble and also investigated the Singer-Swapp compound after the family was taken into custody.
He found many fishhooks strung on thin line, which hooked an FBI agent. Bottles filled with rocks, nuts and bolts were strung onto the same wires that dangled the fishlines, to act as alarms. The hooks were "not plainly visible," he said.
Nails were pounded into a 4-by-8-foot sheet of plywood, which was then hidden beneath snow, he said.
Metos asked whether he actually observed anyone planting this supposed booby trap.
Taylor said he watched through a video camera and saw the board positioned in the snow, Taylor said. It was placed behind a car where agents might take cover if they were approaching the house and came under fire. He confirmed that John Timothy Singer wasn't one of those he saw set this trap.
Material that could be used to make a time bomb, such as detonators, electrical cord and disassembled clocks that could be used as timers, were discovered in the compound, he said. Some of this was found in the "brown house," the home of Heidi Singer, close to Vickie Singer's home. Vickie Singer's was the main building on the homestead.
He said feathers and spray paint apparently used to decorate a pole left at the bombing scene were discovered in the "yellow house," the home of Charlotte Swapp, Addam's other wife. Both women are daughters of Vickie Singer and the late John Singer, killed resisting arrest nine years ago.
Of the blasting caps, 44 were found intact. Four expended detonators were discovered, which Taylor said may have been set off as tests. That left two missing from the box of 50, and he believes they set off the dynamite.
Either they were vaporized in the blast or the fragments were driven into the stake center's roof, he said.
An IRECO explosives box containing 22 sticks of dynamite was found in a car parked near a school building on the compound. The 50-pound box would have held 105 to 110 sticks originally, he said.
"We knew we were missing 85 sticks of dynamite," weighing about 45 pounds.
Meadows said 23 weapons were seized after the shootout.
During opening arguments, Metos outlined what may be a possible defense theory for John Timothy Singer. Earlier in the day, U.S. Attorney Brent D. Ward said the wheelchair-bound young man fired the shot that killed House.
The four charges against John Timothy Singer are attempted homicide and resisting arrest, and using a firearm in each of those. The government must show John Timothy Singer "willfully associated with a criminal venture," he said.
"If he's merely present," that is not enough to brand him as an accomplice. Even if he helped somewhat but didn't intend to commit the crime, he can't be convicted, he said.
Although there might be testimony of shots fired, he asked the jury, does the government say it has a witness who saw Timothy shoot at loudspeakers or floodlights? "If they just have shots coming out of the house, I'm going to ask you to consider how many people were in the house," and how many guns, he said.
In the attempted murder charge, there are degrees of homicide, he said. They range from first-degree murder, where the government would have to show actual malice, to voluntary manslaughter.
In the latter case, Metos said, there might be a situation "where people's fears or passions run high."
When the shootout began, dogs were loosed toward Addam Swapp and Jonathan Swapp, who were outside. John Timothy Singer had no intention of harming anybody, Metos said.
The young man simply wanted to keep the dogs from attacking the Swapp brothers, he said.
Also, the government intends to show John Timothy Singer used a lightweight carbine in the shooting. He asked the jury to consider the accuracy of the gun, and said he suspects it wasn't very accurate.
John Timothy Singer was in the north end of the house at a small window. Metos said he will ask the jury to look at the obstructions between that window and the Bates house, where House was killed.
Metos said the jury will hear that Addam Swapp turned toward the officers, gun in hand, and "there was almost simultaneous firing from both sides."
He asked who shot first whether the covering FBI agents did or if John Timothy Singer shot at the dog.
Metos said he will ask the panel to consider whether there was a ricochet in the shooting.