Leader of standoff at polygamist compound is freed

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 9, 2013 at 7:01 pm •  Published: July 9, 2013
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Swapp claimed he had a revelation that Singer would return to life on the ninth anniversary of his death, which was barely two weeks away.

Swapp, who went on to marry two of Singer's daughters, holed up in Singer's compound following the bombing. Nine children were among the 14 people barricaded with him in a log cabin. More than 100 officers surrounded the property after following tracks in the snow.

Throughout the standoff, officers flashed bright lights and circled in noisy snowmobiles in the middle of the night to psychologically weaken members of the Singer-Swapp clan. They resisted by shooting out police floodlights and used a lantern and mirrors to flash a crude Morse code message, "Cops not telling truth."

Shortly after dawn on Jan. 28, 1988, the showdown ended in a gun battle.

Fred House, a dog handler with the state corrections department, was killed after he was struck by a bullet between armored plates in his flak jacket. House was shot by Singer's son, John T. Singer, who was released from prison in 2006 after serving time on state and federal charges that included manslaughter and attempted murder.

Swapp was shot in the arm and chest during the shootout and waved a white towel through the doorway to surrender. The shootout was later recounted in a made-for-TV movie.

During court appearances, Swapp donned a buckskin coat fashioned by his wives that featured Indian signs, geometric symbols and a flag designed by his deceased father-in-law. He told the Salt Lake Tribune at the time that he believed God had chosen him to gather American Indians for the second coming of Christ. John Singer, he said, would be resurrected and unite lost tribes of Israel.

Swapp served 17 years in federal prison before beginning a state sentence in 2006. Officials opted to house him in Arizona rather than Utah because of his ties to a state officer's death.

At his parole hearing in September, Swapp wept and issued a long apology, including statements directed at the House family, the Tribune reported. Swapp said it had been a long, slow process to shift from what he called wrongful beliefs to Christ-centered beliefs.

"The end result is that I have come away with a complete change of heart and a radically new way of looking at life," he said.

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Follow Michelle Price at http://www.twitter.com/michellelprice.