Addam Swapp testified in federal court Tuesday that when he was shot Jan. 28, he was in terrible pain, went into the Singer farmhouse and received a blessing from his brother Jonathan.
Swapp's dramatic recitation of the events during the shootout that ended his family's standoff in Marion, Summit County, came when U.S. District Court Chief Judge Bruce S. Jenkins suddenly allowed reporters into a hearing that he had earlier ordered closed.This part of the hearing to determine Swapp's competency when he made statements after the shooting was not considered so sensitive that it might prejudice jurors.
Swapp's attorneys claim sleep deprivation, emotional pressures and stress may have affected or distorted his statements after his arrest. They have asked the judge to close hearings on some of this material.
Attorneys for Swapp said it was not until the afternoon of the shootout after Swapp underwent an emergency operation at University Hospital that he recalls receiving notification of his right to remain silent and have a lawyer present.
Shortly before Swapp testified Tuesday, U. surgeon Dr. James McGreevy listed the amounts of painkiller, anesthetics and other medications Swapp had received.
McGreevy said that when he saw Swapp at 5:30 p.m., after the operation, the man seemed alert and lucid.
Swapp testified that during the 13-day siege, he never had a chance to talk to an attorney.
"They (federal agents) had cut our line." He said he told an FBI agent he would be willing to speak with him for 15 minutes if he would connect the house with an outside telephone line.
"They would never give me that outside line," he said, even though he twice asked for it.
Under cross-examination by U.S. Assistant Attorney Richard Lambert, Swapp said that immediately before the shooting, "We had been up all night. I could not say we didn't sleep any time. We could have napped or dozed a little but didn't go to bed as our sleep had been disrupted by the powerful noise-makers put up by the federal officers."
Lambert asked if Swapp had worn earplugs. Swapp said yes, "but the earplugs really didn't help. It was a feeble attempt to lessen the noise.
The standoff ended the morning of Jan. 28, with the killing of corrections officer Fred House.
Lambert asked Swapp if he had not gone off the property twice on the 27th, referring to the shooting of loudspeakers. Swapp hotly denied that he had left his property, although he said he did go outside the house.
At that point, Jenkins chided Lambert, telling him to focus on Swapp's mental capacity when he made statements.
Swapp said that after he was shot, he continued into the farmhouse. "I asked my brother to give me a blessing," he said. "Heidi or Charlotte (Vickie Singer's daughters and Swapp's wives) wrapped my hand with a towel."
He said he then left the house feeling he needed medical attention. He went toward the green house, referred to as the "Bates home," and encountered an FBI agent.
"I stumbled outside the house. I was blanking out," Swapp said.
"When I first went down, they told me to lie face down on the snow . . . a real kind man came across the fence and held my hand while I was bleeding . . . I felt like I was dying."
During a Monday afternoon, Jenkins closed Tuesday's hearing, ordered the federal government to produce a bill of particulars by Friday spelling out the charges against two defendants, and said he may strike out a minor clause from the indictment.
He also said he is considering a motion to move the trial, based upon pretrial publicity.
These actions came during nearly five hours of arguments, ending the public stage of a series of motions. Lawyers for Vickie Singer and Jonathan Swapp argued successfully for a bill of particulars, which will clearly define the charges. As the indictment is written, they said, it is unclear whether the government is alleging a single overall conspiracy or as many as hundreds of smaller conspiracies counting various combinations of defendants and crimes.
An important decision Jenkins will have to reach soon is whether the LDS Kamas Stake Center in Marion was used in or affected interstate commerce. The first three counts of the indictment, relating to the bombing of the stake center on Jan. 16, are based on a federal law that is anchored in the Constitution's commerce clause.
Kathryn Collard, representing Vickie Singer, asked the court to throw out the first three counts, saying the church was clearly not a commercial building.
"The question is whether Congress, under the commerce power, has the ability to regulate churches that are used solely for religious purposes," she said.
"If it's commerce, it's only commerce in souls."
Lambert replied that when the anti-terrorist, anti-bombing law was passed in 1970, congressmen said almost any building could be protected under it possibly even private homes. He said the phrase "for business purposes" was deliberately left out of the law's final version so it wouldn't be restricted.
Certainly thousands of dollars are collected in the stake center and then used for interstate commerce such as providing air fare for missionaries and church officials, he said.
"You don't suggest here that the stake was engaged in commercial activity," Jenkins said. He said Collard raised a legitimate question. He will rule on it later.