4 in Polygamy Clan Get Minimum Terms In Fatal Gun Battle

A judge today sentenced four members of a polygamist clan to minimum prison terms for their roles in a church bombing and shootout in which a corrections officer was killed.

The decision was bitterly attacked by prosecutors, who vowed to appeal on grounds that the penalties were too lenient and possibly illegal.

Chief Federal District Judge Bruce Jenkins, who was sharply critical of Federal mandatory sentencing standards governing bombings and firearms, said he had no choice but to order prison terms of 15 years for the ringleader, Addam Swapp, 27 years old, and five years for his mother-in-law, Vickie Singer, 45. Mr. Swapp was seriously wounded in the shootout with F.B.I. agents last Jan. 28.

Mr. Swapp’s brother, Jonathan Swapp, and Mrs. Singer’s son, John Timothy Singer, both 21, each received mandatory 10-year sentences for two firearms counts each and five years’ probation for two other counts. Prosecutors said the maximum penalty for the four counts was 45 years. #13-Day Siege They said Addam Swapp could have been imprisoned for 75 years and Mrs. Singer for 50 years for their parts in the Jan. 16 bombing of a Mormon chapel in Marion and a 13-day siege of their rural stronghold by 100 officers.

The sentences and Judge Jenkins’s criticisms of Congress infuriated the United States Attorney, Brent Ward. He said prosecutors planned to appeal the sentences as illegal since Judge Jenkins simply declined to impose penalties on some counts and rendered less-than-minimum terms on others.

Mr. Ward said he had never been involved in a case where the sentence was ”given with apologies to the defendant and criticism of the Congress.”

State murder charges in the shooting death of the corrections officer, Lieut. Fred House, are expected to be filed Tuesday against an unspecified number of clan members.

Mr. Swapp said the bombing was ordered by God as a sign of the impending collapse of the Mormon Church and all government.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
, AP, via the New York Times, Sep. 3, 1988, http://www.nytimes.com

Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday September 3, 1988.
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