From his prison in Arizona, polygamist Addam Swapp has sent at least two letters asking forgiveness for a deadly siege in 1988. Some think they seem sincere, others wonder if they’re meant to benefit Swapp on two issues regarding his imprisonment.
One letter went to the Park Record newspaper in Park City. Another was to the Utah Department of Corrections. Swapp says he now knows he was wrong for launching the 1988 siege that transfixed Utah and the nation.
In Kamas Valley it’s an episode many people prefer to forget.
Esther Watson, Marion Neighbor: “We’ve just blocked all of that out and gone on with our lives.”
It began when a bomb went off inside a Mormon Church. For nearly two weeks, SWAT teams surrounded a tiny log cabin. Inside were Addam Swapp, his two sister wives, their mother and a number of children.
The motive was Swapp’s bizarre prophecy that a confrontation would resurrect family patriarch, John Singer, from the dead. It ended with gunfire. Corrections officer Fred House was killed, Addam Swapp was wounded.
Now Swapp admits he was wrong and went against the teachings of Jesus Christ. “I am truly sorry for what I did,” Swapp wrote to the Park Record newspaper, “and I humbly ask for your forgiveness.”
Some neighbors who read the letter think enough time has passed to make a difference.
Richard Watson, Marion Neighbor: “I think everybody here would be very forgiving of that. Again, I think time heals a lot of wounds.”
But memories still bring tears to Don Jepsen. He was custodian of the bombed church.
Reporter: “Is there forgiveness in your heart?”
Don Jepsen, Marion Neighbor: “Well€¦”
Mrs. Jepsen: “As long as they don’t do it again.”
Don Jepsen: “Yeah, that’s the way I feel about it. We don’t need to go through this again. Because it was tough enough as it was.”
Swapp is up for parole in January. His family wants him transferred from Arizona to a Utah prison. But Corrections officials have refused. Several of Fred House’s relatives still work for the department; the worry is that if Swapp is injured accidentally or by another inmate, the department will get the blame.
Jack Ford, Utah Dept. of Corrections: “We don’t want to face the possibility of being accused of doing something or turning our backs or not being immediately on the scene to stop something.”
Swapp’s letters did not mention the location issue or the parole hearing. He wrote that he just wants to follow the way of peace, not violence.
Meanwhile his brother-in-Law, Timothy Singer, will be paroled next month. He was the one in the cabin who fired the fatal shot.
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