Having borne the burden of a complex and sensational case, several of the eight jurors suppressed tears as they stepped down from duty Thursday evening.
The emotionally drained panel handed 3rd District Judge Michael R. Murphy the verdicts after deliberating nearly 26 hours since Monday's conclusion of the three-week murder trial for three members of the Singer-Swapp family.Addam Swapp, 27, and his brother-in-law, John Timothy Singer, 22, were found guilty of manslaughter. Addam's brother, Jonathan Swapp, 21, was found guilty of negligent homicide.
The three men were found criminally liable for the death of state Corrections Lt. Fred House, who was struck down during a shootout that ended a 13-day siege at the Singer property in Marion, Summit County. The siege resulted from the Jan. 16 bombing of that town's LDS chapel.
Prosecutors had asked the jury to find the defendants guilty of second-degree murder, a first-degree felony, which carries a possible life sentence in Utah State Prison.
Though Singer fired the fatal shot, prosecutors said the Swapp brothers, especially Addam, set the stage for the events that led to the shootout.
Murphy scheduled a tentative sentencing date for Jan. 20 in Salt Lake City. At the request of defense attorneys, Murphy ordered the sheriff's office to keep the defendants in the Summit County Jail until after Christmas so family members can visit more easily.
After Thursday's proceedings, Addam Swapp hugged two of his small sons and then his wives, Charlotte and Heidi. The two women also hugged their brother, John Timothy Singer. Jonathan embraced his wife, Anne Eaton Swapp, whom he married last month in a ceremony in the Summit County Jail.
House's widow, Ann House, who attended many sessions of the trial, was not present for the verdict, nor were any other of his friends or survivors. Mrs. House, however, issued a written statement to the media. In that statement, Mrs. House does not directly address the verdicts but says, "These people can't be let off easily." (See accompanying story.)
Exiting the courtroom, a teary-eyed Charlotte said she was glad it was over and expressed some renewed faith in the judicial system.
"I really like the judge. He did a good job. I thought it was fair," Charlotte said. Anne Eaton Swapp said she felt the same.
The Swapp brothers' parents, Ramon and Harriet Swapp, of Fairview, Sanpete County, declined comment and left the courtroom speedily.
Heidi Swapp told reporters that she felt the trial was fair in man's eyes. Asked if it were fair in her eyes, she answered, "I still know that my God is going to deliver them. And like I said, may the Red Sea be parted." She explained she still anticipates a miracle will release her loved ones from prison.
Her mother, Vickie Singer, is serving a five-year federal prison sentence after being convicted of bombing charges in U.S. District Court.
In addition to a possible 15-year sentence for manslaughter, Addam must serve 15 years in a federal prison on assault and bombing convictions and John Timothy Singer must serve 10 years in federal prison for assault.
Jonathan Swapp must also serve 10 years in a federal prison for assault, but he may not have to serve any additional time for the negligent homicide conviction. That offense carries a maximum one-year sentence, so he could be given credit for time already served since his arrest Jan. 28.
Though obviously disappointed, Creighton C. Horton, assistant Utah attorney general, told reporters he is pleased with how the jury performed its duty.
"It was simply a tough case (for the jurors) from the beginning . . . it was an unusual, complex case."
Horton said his office will ask the judge to make the sentences consecutive with the federal terms.
"This should put to rest the incident in Marion," Horton said.
However, Addam still faces felony charges arising out of an Oct. 29, 1987, confrontation with Summit County Sheriff Fred Eley. County Attorney Bob Adkins said he will consult with Eley before deciding whether to pursue those charges. Eley told the Deseret News, "I'd just as soon see it all over with."
Defense attorneys for Addam had mixed feelings about Thursday's verdict, but lawyers for Jonathan and Singer lawyers were elated.
John Bucher, one of Addam's attorneys, said, "We have an abiding conviction in our clients' innocence, but we are pleased with the outcome."
Singer's attorney, Fred Metos, who had asked the jury to find his client guilty of negligent homicide, said the verdict was "more than fair."
"Tim is pleased he's not looking at a life sentence," Metos said.
Jonathan's attorney, Earl Spafford, was happily incredulous as the verdict was read and told reporters afterward that the verdict was almost an acquittal.
During closing arguments Monday, prosecutors urged the jury to convict the defendants of murder. They argued Addam was the ringleader and set in motion events that "naturally and foreseeably led to the death of Fred House."
Defense attorneys, however, disputed Addam's leadership role and there was no way he could have anticipated an arrest attempt the morning of Jan. 28. Defense attorneys were apparently successful in arguing that Addam _ who was shot in the arm and chest during the finale _ did not order anybody to fire upon law enforcement officers.
Prosecutors told the jury that Jonathan "stood with Addam" and contributed to the life-threatening situation at the siege by firing his guns on many occasions, including during the shootout.
Judge Murphy told jurors Thursday that they are free to talk to the news media about their deliberations but advised against it.
"You take a risk that your long, hard deliberations will be demeaned or misrepresented," Murphy said.
However, only two jurors requested that their names be left confidential. The jury consisted of four Park City residents, two Oakley residents, one from Marion and one from Coalville.