Prosecutor Creighton Horton to Addam Swapp: "Was it not your intent that a lawman's blood had to be shed to atone for John Singer?"
Addam: "You're completely off. No, it was not. Believe it or not, it was not."Such an exchange typified Swapp's 21/2-hour testimony Wednesday afternoon.
Dressed in a buckskin jacket, which he said represents "my beliefs and the injustices we have withstood," a solemn Swapp repeatedly testified that neither he nor his relatives in the Singer household intended to hurt or kill anyone.
"I believe in life . . . taking life is wrong; it's murder. It's against my belief," Swapp said under examination by Bill Morrison, one of his two attorneys.
The 27-year-old Swapp - speaking quietly and with conviction - also told the court that he, under the direction of God, bombed the Marion LDS chapel Jan. 16 to symbolize his revolt against "the injustices that have been perpetrated against our family."
"No one gave a damn. . . . We had to take a stand."
Swapp, his brother, Jonathan, 22, and brother-in-law, John Timothy Singer, 22, are charged with second-degree murder in the death of Corrections Lt. Fred House, who was struck by a bullet allegedly fired by Singer during a shootout the morning of Jan. 28.
As part of Jonathan Swapp's defense, jurors Thursday morning witnessed the sounds that FBI agents bombarded upon the Singer/Swapp family during the siege.
Swapp's attorney is claiming that the sounds prolonged the standoff and that his client shot at the speakers because of perceived harm the noises were causing the children.
The FBI agent who set up the noise system at the Marion standoff set up two 100-watt speakers about 70 yards and accross the street from the courthouse. Three different sounds were played at three different volumes.
Jurors were allowed to roam the courtroom as all spectators other than reporters were excused. One juror grimaced and another held her ears as the sounds reached the highest volume.
Addam Swapp, who has described the noises as "hellish," stared downward solemnly during the demonstration.
Third District Judge Michael R. Murphy instructed the jury that the sound display is for illustrative purposes only and should not to be perceived as what occurred in Marion.
During Wednesday's cross-examination, Horton, an assistant attorney general, tried to get Addam to admit that he was seeking bloodshed and that his behavior endangered the lives of others.
The problems that led to the bombing and standoff, Addam said, started back in January 1979, when fundamentalist/polygamist John Singer, whom Addam didn't know at the time, was shot to death after allegedly pointing a gun at police officers.
Upon joining the Singer family by marrying John Singer's daughters, Heidi and Charlotte, years later, Addam took part in a lawsuit filed by Singer's widow, Vickie, against the police, LDS Church and the state of Utah. Despite volumes of evidence, Addam said, the suit was thrown out for "lack of evidence" and was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Singer/Swapp family's problems didn't end there, he said. Their neighbors "didn't like our presence because of our beliefs and peculiarities."
Neighbors tried to evict them from their property until a court found that the land rightfully belonged to Vickie Singer. Later, neighbors took away the family's water rights.
"We tried to get redress through this government. They denied it," Addam said.
Tension mounted in 1987 when Addam tried unsuccessfully to tap into water he believed was rightfully his on a neighbor's land. Then on Oct. 29, 1987, a confrontation with Sheriff Fred Eley led to Eley's securing felony warrants, which, Addam said, really began the siege.
Addam testified he considered the felony warrants to be "license to kill," as police had felony warrants on John Singer when they shot him.
Defense attorneys then focused questioning on why Addam fired at speakers installed by the FBI and on the shootout in which he was shot by FBI agents after allegedly raising and aiming his weapon in their direction.
Addam said he fired at the speakers to silence the "ugly noise" that was adversely affecting Vickie and the children. "My intentions were not to hurt anyone. I would never point my rifle at another person."
On the day of the shootout, Addam testified, he and Jonathan exited the Singer home to milk the goat. As they walked back to the home, "Tim opened his window and said, `Hey! Watch out for the dogs.' "
Seconds later, he slipped and fell in the snow then realized he'd been shot in the wrist. Addam said he turned around to see where the dogs were coming from but denied that he shouldered his M-1 rifle.
"All the testimonies of the FBI that I raised my rifle are false . . . the thought did not even enter my mind."
Upon stumbling into the Singer home, Addam said, he realized that he had a bullet in his chest. He told his family that the siege was over and he walked out seeking medical attention but assuming he might be killed.
"It was pretty intense . . . the pain was unbearable . . . I was praying out loud and singing `Redeemer of Israel.' " FBI agent Richard Rybolt, Addam said, was sent by God to administer first aid, which is believed to have saved his life.
With a choked voice, Addam related what his reaction was when he learned that a police officer had been shot. "I said, `Shit. Why did you shoot, Tim?' "
Present in the courtroom were House's widow as well as Addam's wives, parents, brothers and sisters.
Under Horton's cross examination, Addam said he never anticipated that bombing the church would elicit the response by law enforcement that it did. But he maintained he couldn't surrender because he had to "make a stand" against injustice and because he couldn't trust the authorities.
Referring to revelations Addam claimed to have, Horton asked, "Who appointed you as God's spokesman on Earth to tell people they will be destroyed?"
"I am just a man. Bombing the church is what God wanted," Addam replied.
Later, Horton asked Addam if he were a "warrior in God's holy war," to which Addam responded calmly, "Sorry. You're getting way off course."
When Horton questioned Addam how he got the revelation to bomb the church, Addam said, "You are getting into an area that is sacred."
Addam admitted, however, that he believed the bombing would lead to an armed confrontation.
"Isn't it true that you wanted bloodshed?" Horton pursued.
Horton then asked Addam if he were the mortal instrument through which God destroys the wicked.
Addam countered, "C'mon. That is not true. That is not my heart or my thinking."
"Was it not your intent that a lawman's blood had to be shed to atone for John Singer?" Horton asked.
"You're completely off. No. It was not. Believe it or not, it was not."
Horton continued by asking whether Addam thinks that his actions during the standoff created a grave risk to the lives of others.
"Absolutely not. (The police) could have left at anytime."
"Was it your right to bomb a church and then be left alone by law enforcement authorities? Is that your God-given right?" Horton said.
"Was it your right to shoot John Singer in the back . . . ?" Swapp retorted.
"Who will atone for (state Corrections Lt.) Fred House's blood, Mr. Swapp?"
An objection to Horton's question was sustained by 3rd District Judge Michael R. Murphy as Swapp uttered, "It was an accident."
But the prosecutor followed up with another question: "Who will it be? You?"
That question was also not allowed, and Addam didn't answer.
Defense presentations for Jonathan and Singer were expected to last Thursday and Friday. Closing arguments are scheduled for Monday, at which time the case will be in the hands of the jury.