Addam Swapp goes before the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole and asks for forgiveness for the 1988 standoff.
Audio link (825 KB .mp3)
Note: The audio was recorded during Swapp's March 10, 2007, parole hearing in Arizona. The recording, provided by the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole, is of marginal quality with some audio difficulties.
Addam Swapp says he has found Jesus Christ in prison and now he wants peace.
"I was wrong, what I did. I'm sorry for it," he said on a tape recording of his parole hearing released Monday. "If I could take it back, I would."
Swapp has just begun his 15-year sentence for manslaughter in connection with the 1988 standoff with law enforcement in Summit County that ended with the death of Utah Department of Corrections Lt. Fred House.
A Utah Board of Pardons and Parole member traveled to the Arizona prison, where Swapp is being kept to avoid any appearance of impropriety. Many corrections officers involved in the standoff still work at the Utah State Prison.
Speaking at his first parole hearing Friday, the 45-year-old Swapp sounded penitent as he apologized to House's family. He described himself as a fundamentalist and said he has been "born again."
"I want to be like Jesus Christ," said Swapp, quickly adding: "I don't mean I want to be Christ. He's my example."
The Singer-Swapp saga began in 1979 when family patriarch John Singer was killed by police officers. Years later, Swapp joined the family and took Singer's daughters, Heidi and Charlotte, as his polygamous wives.
Recounting the events that led up to the siege at their Marion ranch, Swapp said what sent him over the edge was when the family received the bloodstained clothes and the autopsy photos of John Singer from the Summit County Sheriff.
"His wife (Vickie Singer) was inconsolable," Swapp said. "Her tears and her feelings of pain never seemed to lessen over those nine years."
In 1988, an enraged Swapp bombed the LDS stake center in Kamas.
"Pride and self-righteousness are the hardest sins to see," he said Friday. "I felt like I was doing what I was supposed to do because of Vickie and her family, even if it wasn't right."
The bombing was reportedly intended to spark a confrontation that would usher in Singer's resurrection. It resulted in a 13-day standoff with law enforcement and ended with a shootout that left Swapp wounded and House dead.
Singer's son, John Timothy Singer, shot and killed House. He was released from prison last year after serving a pair of federal and state sentences. Vickie Singer and Addam's brother, Jonathan Swapp, also served prison time in connection with the standoff.
Members of House's family said they hold no malice toward Swapp but do not want him released from prison anytime soon.
"I'm amazed that even now, the degree of sorrow has not dissipated through all the years," said Charlie Burnett, who spoke to the parole board on behalf of House's widow, Ann.
Since he's been in prison doing federal and now state time, Addam Swapp said one of his wives, Heidi, has left him and remarried. His wife Charlotte declined comment on the parole hearing when contacted by the Deseret Morning News on Monday.
Swapp said that if released, he would not communicate with Vickie Singer and would never visit their property again.
Parole board member Clark Harms sounded skeptical. He said Swapp has spent the last 20 years in prison justifying what happened.
"You created an armed insurrection," Harms said. "Because of your actions, a police officer died."
He noted that Swapp found God about the same time he learned he was up for a parole hearing.
Swapp said that if police had perhaps apologized for killing John Singer, the standoff could have been averted.
"If they'd have just said they were sorry, it would have been like throwing cold water on a fire," Swapp said.
Harms countered that while Swapp may not have been the one who fired the fatal shot, he was the one who led the family into the confrontation.
"The one who is ultimately responsible for Fred House's death is you," he said.
The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole will review the tape and then decide how long Swapp should remain behind bars. A decision could come in a month. They could parole him, expire his sentence or keep him behind bars and order a rehearing in a few years.