Three men accused of second-degree murder in the shooting death of state Corrections Lt. Fred House have been ordered to stand trial and face an Oct. 31 arraignment in 3rd District Court.
One of those men, Addam Swapp - silent throughout most of a three-day preliminary hearing - proved he is as committed to his cause as ever when he said in court Monday that the explosion at the Marion LDS Stake Center Jan. 16 was "a damn good one."At the conclusion of the hearing, 3rd Circuit Judge Maurice Jones ruled that sufficient evidence exists to try Swapp, Jonathan Swapp and John Timothy Singer on the charges.
Their arraignment is set before 3rd District Judge Michael Murphy in Coalville.
During his decision, Jones began counseling Addam Swapp on some points in the New Testament. An indignant look could be seen in Swapp's face as the judge told him to "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's."
But when Jones suggested that Addam Swapp read Section 136 of the Doctrine and Covenants, Swapp could keep quiet no longer and told the judge, "You read very carefully Sections 98 and 113. If you want to argue scriptures, I'm quite prepared to do that."
The judge, trying to downplay Swapp's outburst, continued with his findings, noting that police officers had legal authority in trying to arrest members of the Vickie Singer/Addam Swapp family during the 13-day siege at the family's home in Marion, Summit County, following the bombing of the church a mile away. "The officers were duty bound," said Jones.
"The same as in Hitler's regime," Addam Swapp interrupted.
Jones continued, "The consequences of what happened that morning were due to the fact that people were resisting authority."
Addam Swapp responded: "When that civil authority is wicked and corrupt . . . it is a man's duty to reject it.
"My father-in-law was shot dead in the back because of your civil authority. It's unfortunate that John Singer never came to justice . . . in this system that you uphold."
The judge told Swapp he had nothing to do with John Singer, then continued with his findings. "There was an explosion at the church," Jones said.
"And a damn good one," Swapp retorted.
Swapp's attorney, John Bucher, tried to calm his client, but Swapp could be heard to say to Bucher, "I don't care. If you don't want to represent me, that's fine."
Earlier in the hearing, prosecutor Creighton Horton, of the attorney general's office, argued that all three defendants were to blame for the acts that led to the shooting in which House was killed.
"Addam Swapp, by all indications, bombed the church then refused to negotiate with the authorities," Horton said. "He walked around the compound carrying rifles and pistols . . . he was aware of the risk he was creating. And indeed there was a catastrophe with the death of Fred House."
Horton said John Timothy Singer - accused of shooting the fatal round - would not have been firing from his bedroom window "had Addam Swapp not been forcibly resisting arrest."
And Jonathan Swapp? "He was there with Addam. He stood with Addam . . . When the shooting began, he fired his rifle at least three times."
Defense attorneys tried unsuccessfully to have the charges dismissed or reduced.
Bucher argued that charges against Addam Swapp should be dismissed because a federal court found his client guilty of charges stemming from the same criminal episode.
Jonathan Swapp's attorney, Earl Spafford, said not a "scintilla" of evidence shows his client caused House's death and instead blamed the state for provoking and aggravating the standoff and bloody confrontation.
"(It was) a holy circus that was manufactured and screen written by the authorities."
Jones disagreed with Spafford's assessment, saying the evidence seems to suggest the defendants were responsible for the shoot-out by resisting arrest.
Fred Metos, representing Singer, argued that the evidence does not support second-degree murder because there's no evidence that Singer intended to kill anyone. Therefore, Metos said, the charges should be reduced to manslaughter or negligent homicide.
Horton, however, argued reduction of charges should be decided by a jury at trial. Jones agreed.