Defense attorneys on Tuesday questioned law enforcement officers about whether Addam and Jonathan Swapp had opened fire before the agents began shooting during the fatal finale to last January's standoff at the Singer home in Marion.
"I thought he (Addam Swapp) was pointing (the gun) at me and shooting at me," FBI Agent Rick Intellini testified. ". . .When I saw him point his weapon at my location, I had probable cause to shoot. . ..I don't have to wait until I'm shot to react."The shootout resulted in the wounding of Addam Swapp and the death of Corrections Lt. Fred House, who had sneaked into the Bates residence, west of the Singer home in Marion, Summit County, to carry out a plan to capture Addam Swapp and his brother, Jonathan. The Swapp brothers were wanted on charges of bombing the nearby LDS stake center on Jan. 16 and had refused to surrender during a subsequent standoff with authorities.
The plan failed and House was hit by a gunshot fired from the bedroom window of John Timothy Singer, who along with the Swapp brothers are being tried in 3rd District Court on second-degree murder charges.
Prosecutors are trying to show the jury that while Singer pulled the trigger, the Swapp brothers began and aggravated events that led to the violence and, therefore, share blame in House's death.
The brothers' attorneys also questioned Intellini on the propriety of his shooting at Swapp, asking him whether he knew for sure that Swapp had fired his weapon or was aiming it at him. Defense attorneys also tried to get agents to admit that when the shooting broke out, the Swapp brothers were the only "targets" that could be shot at. Officers were under orders not to fire at the Singer home.
Corrections officer Jerry Pope, assisting an FBI "hostage recovery team," said his first impression was that the incoming rounds were not coming from Addam or Jonathan.
Agent Martin Brown, also of the hostage recovery team deployed in the Bates home, was behind House when the order came to arrest the Swapp brothers, who were between the Singer and Bates residences after having visited the goat's pen.
House opened the door of the Bates home and commanded his dog to attack, Brown said. Another member of the team also sent his dog on the attack. But the dogs apparently failed to key in on their targets and returned inside, Pope testified.
House stepped inside the doorway to give his dog another command when the officers came under fire.
Brown said he saw Addam facing the Bates home and "pointing a long rifle in our direction."
FBI agent John Butler then fired two upon Addam Swapp, Brown said. "Almost immediately thereafter Lieutenant House was hit with a round.
"Lieutenant House gave out a low groan, turned and fell back into the opened closet."
As rounds continued to spray into the Bates home, agents shut the front door and pulled House to the kitchen and CPR was administered. House was flown to University Hospital, where he was dead on arrival.
Intellini testified that he saw Swapp shoulder his weapon and aim it toward the team's position. "As soon as I saw (that) I aimed my weapon and fired one shot."
Intellini's shot went through the window of an upstairs Bates room, where he and other agents were positioned.
The agent then turned his attention to House. "I kept talking to him because I knew that the last sense you lose is your sense of hearing and I didn't want him to die alone."
Moments later, Intellini saw Addam exit the Singer home and stagger toward the Bates home as though he'd been wounded. The agent had Addam in his sights but didn't shoot because he didn't see a weapon. "He had a brown towel around his arm. Until he dropped the towel, I wasn't sure if I was going to kill him."