Law enforcement officers who arrived at the bombed-out stake center in Marion, Summit County, the morning of Jan. 16 feared Addam Swapp because of a confrontation between Swapp and the Summit County sheriff three months earlier.
During testimony Friday in the first day of the murder trial for three members of the Singer-Swapp family, Sheriff Fred Eley told the court that he visited the Singer property on Oct. 29, 1987, to talk with Swapp about some vandalism. As Eley approached the home, Swapp yelled, "Get out.""He pulled a gun, aimed it at me and told me I was trespassing on hallowed ground and that I should leave," said Eley, under examination by prosecutor Creighton Horton, of the attorney general's office.
As Eley walked away, Swapp fired a shot into the air. "I told him he'd gone too far, that I'd be back with a warrant. He told me I had the blood of John Singer on my hands. He warned me not to return or there would be bloodshed."
Because of that confrontation, Eley warned federal agents not to go to the Singer property on Jan. 16, the day the LDS stake center was bombed by Addam Swapp.
Prosecutors are trying to show the five-man, five-woman jury that the Oct. 29 incident helps to prove Addam Swapp's belligerence and violent tendencies in dealing with the law.
Swapp, his brother, Jonathan Swapp, and his brother-in-law, John Timothy Singer, are charged with second-degree murder in the Jan. 28 death of state corrections Lt. Fred House.
Defense attorneys told the jury their clients never intended to kill anyone. Attorneys for the Swapps said the evidence will show the brothers believed they had reason to resist and that law enforcement aggravated the situation.
Addam Swapp, Horton said, provoked the 13-day standoff that began with the bombing and ended when House, attempting to get his dog to attack the Swapp brothers, was pierced by a bullet fired by John Timothy Singer. All three defendants are culpable for the murder, Horton told the jury Friday morning during opening statements.
On the day of the bombing, Addam Swapp refused to surrender or cooperate with authorities and said there would be bloodshed if anyone tried to come onto the property, FBI agent Cal Clegg testified.
Throughout the standoff, Jonathan and Addam carried rifles and pistols and fired toward law enforcement officers, Horton said. "For 13 days these defendants had ample time to think of what might happen if they continued this armed resistance."
Law enforcement, on the other hand, was restrained, the prosecutor said. "That resolve to end this peaceably cost Fred House his life on the morning of the 28th."
Bill Morrison, one of Addam Swapp's attorneys, said there's another side to the story and that his client will explain his actions. "You'll see that he never intended to harm anyone." Addam, who was wounded during the Jan. 28 shootout, couldn't have been pointing a gun at anyone, said Swapp's other attorney, John Bucher.
Fred Metos, Singer's attorney, does not dispute that his client fired the fatal round but told the jury the killing was not intentional and that his client was firing at the dogs, which Singer believed were going to kill Addam. "What you're going to have to determine is if (House's death) was intentional or accidental." Metos told the jury he will ask them to return a verdict of negligent homicide.
Unlike at the pretrial hearings, the defendants are allowed to wear street clothing, rather than jail attire, during the trial. Addam was dressed in a buckskin jacket, on the rear of which is his blue-and-white flag - similar in design to the American flag, except with 12 stars, apparently representing the tribes of Israel and circling what appears to be the star of David. The jacket was also adorned with two feathers and a beaded collar with Indian symbols.
Jonathan was also wearing a buckskin jacket, but without the flag. The wheelchair-bound John Timothy Singer wore slacks and a blue-and-white pullover.
On one side of the courtroom sat the wife and other relatives of House. On the other side, were friends and family of the defendants. Noticeably absent were Addam Swapp's wives, Heidi and Charlotte, sisters of John Timothy Singer and daughters of John Singer, who was killed by police outside the Singer property in January 1979.
Spafford said Jonathan wasn't one to point guns at people. "Why? Because his father would have his neck on a platter," Spafford said. Jonathan never intentionally fired at anyone during the siege, the attorney said.
Spafford described law enforcement tactics during the siege as "a most threatening situation" and hinted that police aggravated the standoff with the use of the glaring lights and the "screeching sounds" of the loudspeakers.
Horton said those tactics would never have been used had there not been children in the Singer home. "They tried lights and speakers instead of tear gas and bullets."
The trial resumes Monday at 9 a.m.