The night before Benjamin Singer was released from detention, his sister, Charlotte Singer Swapp, had a dream.
She dreamed that Benjamin would return to the Marion, Summit County, farm to help her and her sister, Heidi Singer Swapp, with the farm work.In the morning, she was doing housework when she heard 12-year-old Israel shout out, "Ben's here! Ben's here!"
"It felt so wonderful to see him. I knew the Lord was looking after us!" Charlotte Singer Swapp said during a recent interview at the Marion farm.
The two sisters believe "if the Lord wants our other family members out of that Salt Lake County Jail, they could be home today."
On Monday, U.S. District Chief Judge Bruce S. Jenkins denied a series of legal motions to attempt to prevent convicted Singer-Swapp family members from going to federal prison.
Charlotte and Heidi Singer Swapp's husband, Addam Swapp; their mother, Vickie Singer; their brother, John Timothy Singer; and brother-in-law, Jonathan Swapp, sought acquittal or new trials. They appealed their convictions on 20 of 23 charges stemming from the Jan. 16 bombing of the LDS Kamas Stake Center and the subsequent 13-day police standoff at the Singer farm.
All four face possible prison terms of at least 10 years and are scheduled to be sentenced July 1.
Defense attorneys argued Monday that a reference made by U.S. Attorney Brent D. Ward to the Jan. 28th shooting death of Corrections Officer Fred House prejudiced jurors. Charges of homicide are filed in state court - not at the federal level - and should not have been mentioned in the federal trial, the attorneys said.
In absence of their convicted relatives, Charlotte, 20, and her sister, Heidi, 23, polygamist wives of Addam Swapp, are living on the Marion farm, rearing their six children and looking after their younger brothers, Joseph, 17, Benjamin and Israel.
"Benjamin is the mechanic in the family," said Charlotte. "He helps maintain the car and fix things like the vacuum and the plumbing. We've really missed him. We're overjoyed he's home."
Benjamin was ordered incarcerated because he would not testify to a grand jury against family members in the Singer-Swapp prosecution. He declined to testify against his mother based on a claimed parent-child privilege.
Since the 15-year-old returned home May 25, he has
been repairing broken vehicles that clutter the farm. He is also trying to obtain a driver's license so he can take his sisters to the grocery store in town. Currently, no one on the farm legally drives.
A shy boy, Benjamin said he is "very happy" to be home.
The two women who head the separated Singer-Swapp clan now struggle to maintain a normal routine on the farm. But life without their husband, brother and mother is challenging, they said.
"Mother used to do all the dishes. Now we have to divide many of the chores among ourselves," said Heidi.
"But this is still Dad's place. He is still the head of our family. We know our father will come home." (heir father, John Singer, was killed in 1979 by lawmen trying to arrest him over his defiance of a court order that he release the children of his second wife to their father.)
Emotionally and financially, they say they are living "day to day." They receive a little more than $300 in monthly Social Security checks and occasionally find money tucked in envelopes mailed to them from "supportive friends."
"We take things one day at a time. If you plan ahead, then God has no way to influence the outcome," said Heidi.
They visit their family members in jail frequently and maintain close communication through phone calls and letters.
Wheelchair-bound Timothy is having the hardest time in jail, said Charlotte. "Jail makes him sick. He would like to get married and worries about the time he is away in jail," said Charlotte.
Their mother, Vickie Singer, doesn't think she'll go to prison. "She knows the Lord will deliver her," said Charlotte.
Describing their husband's attitude toward incarceration, Heidi said, "Addam knows he's doing what's right. He knows there will have to be something good come of all of this. He believes we've won the victory, and we agree."
While they have faith that the Lord's will is coming to pass, they concede they sometimes get discouraged because they miss their family members very much. "We are all helping each other through this," said Charlotte.
To cope with the pressure, she takes evening walks in the mountains to "find peace."
The sisters said they were not disturbed by the guilty verdicts returned against their family members.
"We knew they would not be proven innocent. The system is corrupt," said Heidi.
Tension between the Singer-Swapp clan and their neighbors continues over water rights. Charlotte and Heidi complain bitterly that their irrigation water has been shut off by their neighbor, Jared Weller. Their gardens and lawns, cows and goats depend on the irrigation water, they say.
"Isn't it enough for them to have our family in jail? What else do they (he neighbors) want?"
Weller admits he recently diverted the irrigation water from the Marion farm, contending he owns the legal rights to it and needed the water elsewhere. The Singer-Swapps have rights to the culinary water but not the irrigation water, he said.