As the Singer-Swapp defendants were led in chains from the federal courthouse Monday shortly after they were found guilty of crimes that will land each in prison, a Deseret News reporter yelled a request for a comment.
Addam Swapp, who faces 15 years in prison, turned toward the horde of reporters, grinned widely and held up one thumb from his manacled hands: thumbs up.Then he climbed inside the prisoners' van for the trip back to Salt Lake County Jail, guarded by a marshal who toted a short-stock shotgun. The van was preceded by a police car with a flashing light. Swapp's wives, Heidi and Charlotte, waved goodbye, with Charlotte waving the hand of one of their children.
Swapp's gesture was oddly celebratory under the circumstances.
The firearms and bomb crimes alone are so grave that each defendant faces a minimum mandatory sentence on these charges.
"It looks like about 15 years minimum on Addam, 10 years mandatory time on the other three," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Lambert.
These counts are "intensifiers" to the main charges. For example, if someone assaults a federal officer he can be sentenced to 10 years in prison; if he used a gun in the assault, that could add a mandatory five years to the assault sentence.
So all four defendants may face many more years of incarceration.
Counting mandatory terms, Addam Swapp faces a possible sentence of 65 years in prison; Vickie Singer, 40 years; Jonathan Swapp, 40 years; John Timothy Singer, 40 years. Addam Swapp faces a possible additional sentence for contempt of court.
Federal prisoners often are released after serving a third of their terms.
U.S. District Court Chief Judge Bruce S. Jenkins set sentencing for July 1: Addam Swapp, 8:30 a.m.; Vickie Singer, 9 a.m.; Jonathan Swapp, 1:30 p.m.; John Timothy Singer, 2 p.m.
Heidi Singer Swapp, asked for a reaction to the guilty verdicts, asked if the reporters had ever seen the movie "Moses." In that film, Moses calls down plagues upon Egypt until the Hebrews are freed from captivity.
She did not explain what she meant by the reference. "I know it's in God's hands, OK?" she said.
Ramon Swapp, father of Addam and Jonathan Swapp, said the jury had to find that the chapel was used in activities affecting interstate commerce before the defendants could be convicted in federal court of bombing it.
It is the Constitution's interstate commerce clause that allows federal action in this case. Otherwise, the bombing would be a state matter.
Ramon Swapp said, "I feel the FBI was there without authorization at the beginning. The only reason they were there was under interstate commerce."
If the federal government wanted to prosecute anyone on such a charge, he said, "they should have to declare it in interstate commerce" first.
Bruce Savage, lawyer for Jonathan Swapp, said he is pleased that the verdict on attempted first-degree murder was "not guilty." (Instead, the jurors found Addam Swapp, Jonathan Swapp and John Timothy Singer guilty of attempted second-degree murder of federal officers.) That verdict bears out "what we were trying to show in terms of premeditation," Savage said. Attempted second-degree murder means the defendants had malice but no premeditation.
He will think about the case for a few days before deciding on an appeal, he said.
Bill Morrison, lawyer for Addam Swapp, said that without question, he will file an appeal.
Kathryn Collard, representing Vickie Singer, said her client expressed concern for how Collard was taking the verdict. The defendants themselves showed no dismay at the jury's decision.
Collard will seek to have Singer released on bail pending appeal.
"Based on the evidence of her lack of involvement in those charges (for which she was not convicted), I think the jury was very clear about the fact that sympathy should not affect their verdict," Collard said.
"I think there was very little evidence against Vickie on the charges where she wasn't convicted."
She said she thought Vickie Singer would react to a long prison sentence the same way she has reacted to everything else in the case - with belief that her destiny is in the hands of God, who is guiding her life.
U.S. Attorney Brent D. Ward said terrorist acts by defendants caused death and injury and also threatened law and order.
During the Jan. 28 shootout, state Corrections Lt. Fred House was killed by a .30-caliber carbine bullet that penetrated his protective vest.
"In such a case (armed resistance to law) it's important that the crime be dealt with unequivocally in order to maintain confidence and respect in our system of government," said Ward. In particular, criminal justice needs to be upheld, he said.
"The verdict in this case satisfies this need and serves the end of justice fully," he said. "I think it's a reaffirmation that democracy works."
Ward said he wasn't surprised about the not-guilty verdict on the charge that Vickie Singer attempted to kill federal officers. That one could have gone either way, he said.