The day of the shoot-out in Marion, Summit County, Timothy Singer confessed he had just fired about 10 shots from his bedroom window at police dogs, an agent of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms testified Friday afternoon.
Prosecutors are trying to prove one of those shots killed Corrections Lt. Fred House, while another hit FBI agent Donald Roberts in the chest. Roberts' bullet-proof vest saved his life. It is also believed that Jonathan Swapp fired at officers during the shoot-out, but missed.The trial took a break until Wednesday, part way through the playing of a tape recording of Timothy Singer's confession. The tape, stopped Friday before the young wheelchair-bound man described the shooting, will resume Wednesday.
Before the tape began, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent Felix G. Garcia related Timothy Singer's confession to himself and another agent who drove him to Salt Lake City just after the family surrendered. Singer was advised of his rights before he was questioned.
Garcia asked Singer about the demolition of the LDS Kamas Stake Center, which was dynamited on Jan. 16.
"Mr. Singer said the church was blown up because no one was listening or cared about what happened to his father," Garcia said. This referred to the shooting death of John Singer nine years earlier.
An FBI report said John Singer, who had defied court orders and refused to surrender, was shot to death when he pulled loaded guns on lawmen trying to arrest him. But the Singer family contended he was murdered, shot in the back.
"We believe it was a revelation from the Lord for the church to be blown up," Singer told him.
Singer said he didn't go to help set the dynamite because he was in a wheelchair.
"He said there was no noise (from the explosion). He credited the removing of the noise to the Lord. He said it was the Lord who had ceased the sound."
Singer told Garcia the family watched reports of the siege on a portable TV set, which would have run on batteries even after officers cut power lines to the compound.
He was determined not to surrender, he told Garcia. "To surrender would have meant he didn't believe in the Lord." He added that he didn't believe in revenge.
The morning of the shooting, Ad-dam and Jonathan Swapp went to milk the family's goat, he said. Armed with a .30 caliber carbine, he was in his bedroom in the Singer home to protect those inside and watch over the Swapp brothers.
He said the gun was loaded with 10 rounds, because if he put in 15, it usually jammed.
"He said he had a pretty good view of the greenhouse (the Bates home, where House was killed) . . . except for a pine tree that partially blocked his view."
Garcia said Singer told him, "They (the Swapp men) were returning to the house and he saw the door to the greenhouse open." He saw two police dogs and heard two or three shots, "and then the door slammed closed," Garcia quoted.
"He said he fired 10 rounds at the dogs but he wasn't sure if he hit them . . . He was the only person shooting from inside the house. He said no one else in the house carried guns."
Jonathan and Addam Swapp, who were armed, were apparently still outside.
Singer told Garcia that he knew there were law enforcement officers present. He didn't see any men in or around the greenhouse, however, he said.
"He said he did not need to be a marksman because the Lord guided him."
When the shots were fired, everyone in the Singer home began crawling, he said. Addam Swapp, who had been shot by FBI agents, staggered inside and said he needed to go to a hospital.
"He (Singer) said he knew he would be killed if he kept shooting, and it would be just harder on Charlotte and Heidi (his sisters), so he gave up."
He told the agent that about 20 guns were in the house two which he had carried himself, in holsters strapped to his wheelchair. They were a .30 caliber carbine and a .357 magnum revolver.
Garcia removed both holsters from the wheelchair.