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Polygamist Clan Leaders Given Minimum Terms for Bombing

Associated Press

A federal judge on Friday sentenced polygamist clan ringleaders Addam Swapp and Vickie Singer to minimum prison terms for a church bombing and two-week police standoff at a rural compound that ended in a law officer’s death.

U.S. District Judge Bruce Jenkins, who decried federal mandatory sentencing laws governing bombings and firearms, imposed terms of 15 years in prison for Swapp, 27, and five years for his mother-in-law, Singer, 45.

Sentencing Underlines Deeds

“The sentence imposed is not for what you say, not for what you believe, but for what you did,” Jenkins told Swapp, who was wounded in a Jan. 28 shoot-out with FBI agents that ended one of Utah’s most bizarre church-state confrontations.

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Swapp’s brother, Jonathan Swapp, 21, facing a possible 45-year maximum imprisonment, was given a mandatory 10-year term for two firearms charges. John Timothy Singer, 21, Vickie Singer’s son, was also given a 10-year sentence.

Federal prosecutors, unhappy with the lenient sentences, said Swapp could have been imprisoned for 75 years and Vickie 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.

“There’s no case I know of that more clearly shows the wisdom of Congress in imposing minimum sentences,” said U.S. Atty. Brent Ward, who added that prosecutors were debating whether to appeal the judge’s sentences.

Cites ‘Crisis of Process’

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But Jenkins said mandatory sentencing laws “illustrate a crisis of the whole sentencing process . . . whether we judge without knowing anything about the case as a matter of social policy.”


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