Not in Utah: An officer killed in a 1988 standoff worked in Corrections as do some relatives now
Earlier this year, polygamous clan leader Addam Swapp finished a federal prison term for the 1988 bombing of the LDS Stake Center in Kamas.
Now, for the slaying of a Utah Corrections officer, he is serving a state manslaughter sentence of up to 15 years – in Arizona.
Family members who live in Sanpete County want him transferred to a Utah facility, where they can visit him more often, and have asked Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. to intervene. Corrections officials balked at the idea of incarcerating Swapp where some of slain lieutenant Fred House’s relatives still work.
His brother has a high-level administrative position at Corrections, and two of his cousins are Corrections officers, said Jack Ford, Utah Department of Corrections spokesman. House’s widow and children also live in the Salt Lake City area.
“If something happened to him [Swapp], people would question if everything was done in a proper manner. It just doesn’t look right,” Ford said.
“There wasn’t anybody in the department who thought it was a good idea given the fact that the person killed in this incident in Marion was a state Corrections officer.”
On Jan. 27, Swapp was transferred from the Federal Corrections Institute in Phoenix to the Alhambra facility – an Arizona Department of Corrections receiving and orientation unit, also located in Phoenix.
Under the Interstate Compact Agreement, Utah was able to place Swapp at the Arizona facility; Utah, in turn, will accept an Arizona inmate in his place, Ford said.
House was killed Jan. 28, 1988, during a 13-day standoff at the Singer family’s Marion ranch in Summit County after the bombing. Swapp’s brother-in-law, John Timothy Singer, opened fire on law enforcement officers as they tried to end the siege.
Swapp’s wife, Charlotte Swapp, declined to talk to The Salt Lake Tribune.
Swapp’s release date will still be determined by the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole, and upon completion of his sentence, he will be released in Utah.
Ford said Corrections officials considered the family’s request, but agreed imprisoning Swapp in Arizona was the most appropriate move.
“Once you’re sent to prison, there is no guaranteed right where you’re going to be housed,” he said.
The Singer-Swapp saga
Polygamist clan leader John Singer was shot and killed by police officers attempting to serve a contempt-of-court warrant Jan. 18, 1979. Singer, who allegedly pulled a gun on the officers, had kept his children from attending public school.
Believing he could topple The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and resurrect Singer, Addam Swapp – who has six children by Singer’s two daughters – detonated 87 sticks of dynamite in the LDS Kamas Stake Center Jan. 16, 1988.
Swapp holed up on a Marion ranch for 13 days with a dozen family members including his mother-in-law, Vickie Singer, brother Jonathan and brother-in-law John Timothy Singer while 100 law officers surrounded the compound.
The siege culminated with a shootout Jan. 28 after Utah Corrections Lt. Fred House and an FBI team tried to capture the Swapp brothers as they left the house to milk a goat. House and other officers hid in a nearby home as they prepared to set a dog on the Swapps. John Timothy Singer, who was covering the brothers from his wheelchair with a .30-caliber carbine, opened fire, killing House.
Swapp, now 44, served a 15-year federal sentence for his role in the church bombing. Now he must serve a one to 15-year state sentence for House’s death.