Ten years ago Wednesday, John Singer was killed on a trek to his mailbox.
While Singer's death came after a six-year feud with state officials, it was just the bloody beginning of a bizarre Utah tragedy that climaxed last year with the death of state corrections Lt. Fred House.Singer, a 47-year-old gun-toting polygamist who refused to enroll his seven children in public school despite court orders, was shot to death outside his Marion, Summit County, property when he aimed a gun during an arrest attempt by state and local law enforcement officials.
Singer was wanted on a contempt citation after ignoring the court orders and on aggravated assault charges stemming from an aborted arrest attempt in October 1978, when law enforcement officers posed as newspaper reporters.
Last year, Singer's death anniversary was grimly marked as his wife, Vickie, and son-in-law Addam Swapp turned their Marion farm compound into a firepowered fortress during a 13-day seige. The drama began with the Jan. 16 dynamite bombing of the Kamas LDS Stake Center and ended when House, 35, and Adam Swapp were caught in the crossfire.
In a letter delivered shortly before the seige to Gov. Norm Bangerter, Addam Swapp wrote that he believed John Singer would return from the grave to usher in some sort of millennium. Swapp dated his letter 1/27/88, nine years and nine days since John Singer was martyred. "I say unto the rest of the remenant (sic) of Jacob, John Singer will soon come forth to gather you who are scattered throughout this nation and the nations of the earth and gather you together into these valleys."
Addam Swapp and John Timothy Singer will be sentenced in state court Thursday on manslaughter convictions and Jonathan Swapp will be sentenced on a negligent homicide conviction.
Addam Swapp and Vickie Singer were convicted for bombing the LDS church house, among other crimes. In federal court, U.S. District Chief Judge Bruce Jenkins sentenced Swapp to a 15-year prison term, plus five years probation for his role in the bombing and the armed standoff. Jenkins sentenced Vickie Singer to five years in prison and five years probation.
Jonathan Swapp, Addam's brother, and John Timothy Singer, Vickie's son, each received 10-year prison sentences on the federal charges.
Federal government lawyers have filed an appeal, hoping to prolong by five years both Vickie Singer's and Addam Swapp's sentence.