Attorneys for Addam Swapp, convicted of killing a Utah Corrections officer, are trying to figure out what their client stood trial for and are asking the Utah Court of Appeals to clear up the confusion.
The document filed Thursday contends 3rd District Judge Michael Murphy failed to force prosecutors to itemize what the state intended to show in Swapp's second-degree murder trial."The judge failed to force them to say, `We're going to prove at trial these 15 things or two things, and here they are,' " said defense lawyer John Bucher, who is seeking "an itemized statement of the actions he (Swapp) did that in their theory constituted the crime of second-degree murder."
Requesting the prosecution file a bill of particulars "forces them to specify their proof" in trying the case, Bucher said.
Swapp, his brother, Jonathan, and John Timothy Singer were sentenced last month in 3rd District Court in connection with the January 1988 standoff in Marion, Summit County, that led to Officer Fred House's shooting death.
House was shot when he emerged from a house on the polygamist family's compound to urge on his attack dog. The dog was used as a diversion to end the 13-day standoff that began with the bombing of a Mormon Church chapel.
"I really don't know to this day what Addam Swapp went on trial for in state court," Bucher said. "I'm asking the appeals court they (prosecutors and the judge) should have made it better for the defendant or easier for the defendant to find out what parts of the siege that are murder."
The appeal also asks judges to overturn Murphy's decision to have the state sentences served after completion of the federal stretch.
"You can't stack them up. You put a lid on" the amount of time a defendant serves, said Bucher.
Swapp, 27, is serving a 15-year federal sentence in a Florida prison for the bombing of the Kamas LDS stake center and attempting to kill federal officers during the standoff. He also was ordered to serve a 1-to-15-year sentence in Utah for House's death.
Bucher also is asking the judges to consider the "double jeopardy-type things" in which the polygamist was charged in state and federal courts with crimes that arose from a single criminal incident.