An FBI psychologist said floodlights and loudspeakers aimed at the Singer home in Marion, Summit County, in January were supposed to persuade clan leader Addam Swapp to surrender.
But the tactics failed, as did a plea from Gov. Norm Bangerter, who asked the Singers and Swapps to surrender, assuring them that no harm would come to them.Because of those failures, authorities decided to implement a plan to capture Swapp and his brother, Jonathan Swapp, with attack dogs the morning of Jan. 28, according to testimony Monday afternoon before a 3rd District Court jury in Coalville.
The Swapp brothers and John Timothy Singer begin their third day of trial Tuesday on charges of second-degree murder in the death of state Corrections Lt. Fred House, who was shot while assisting in an arrest attempt. Addam was also shot, but surrendered and recovered from his wounds.
The incident ended a 13-day standoff with authorities that began Jan. 16 when Addam Swapp bombed the nearby LDS stake center.
Dwayne Fuselier, an FBI agent trained in psychological tactics, said the floodlights and loudspeakers were set up to provide light and cover for officers patrolling the area and "to keep (the family) involved with us throughout the night and tire them out."
The tactics also were meant to give the family "some reason to come to us." But it became clear to negotiators that "we had nothing they wanted," he said.
Fuselier said he began to realize the clan was withstanding the psychological pressure when family friend Ogden Kraut, who had served as a mediator during the siege, took photographs that showed the group relaxed and smiling.
"They did not seem tired. They did not seem exhausted," Fuselier said. Kraut also told authorities that the tactics would not work against these people.
Public Safety Commissioner John T. Nielsen testified Monday that authorities were disappointed in Addam Swapp's and Vickie Singer's response to the governor's letter, which was delivered to them by Kraut on Jan. 26
"It was our conclusion that we were at an impasse," Nielsen said. "We then decided to execute a tactical operation that had been designed by the FBI."
Though authorities felt the situation was hopeless, Kraut testified Monday that he disagreed.
"The letter (from Addam to the governor) was disappointing but it wasn't going to stop me from doing what I was going to do," Kraut said.
Kraut said he told Addam he would look into some alternatives on Jan. 28 and then call Swapp the morning of Jan. 29 to report. Kraut's intentions, which he communicated to authorities, were thwarted when two FBI plans the morning of Jan. 28 failed.
FBI agents were to lure the Swapp brothers from the Singer home with loudspeakers, which they had shot out and knocked over before. Dogs were to attack and subdue the brothers.
The plan went awry when one of the dogs turned on an agent and the brothers returned safely to the Singer home.
Without Nielsen's knowledge, the FBI formulated a second plan whereby the Swapps would be arrested when they exited the Singer home to milk the goats. House's dog hesitated, gunfire broke out and the corrections officer was pierced by a bullet fired from John Timothy Singer's bedroom.
Because Jonathan Swapp's attorney, Earl Spafford, plans to make an issue of the part the speakers and lights played in the standoff and violent ending, much time was spent cross-examining government witnesses who had something to do with formulating and implementing the tactics.
Responding to Spafford's questioning, Fuselier said he had no reason to believe that the family's nine children would suffer from the tactics and felt they probably would sleep through the noise, which, he said, could be heard two miles away.
Zane Wood, the FBI technician who devised the noise tactic said his superiors asked him "to come up with any type of noise that could be annoying."