Pretrial issues are focus today at bulldozer-rampage hearing

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The Gales Addition man who allegedly bulldozed several homes in a noon-hour rampage through his neighborhood May 10 will appear in court today for a hearing on pretrial issues, which may include a motion for a change of venue.

Barry A. Swegle's hearing was reset from Thursday morning to 1:30 p.m. today after defense attorney Karen Unger reported that she needed more time to speak with her client.

“We have some issues to discuss,” Unger told Clallam County Superior Court Judge Erik Rohrer.

County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John Troberg did not object to the one-day continuance.

Swegle, 51, has pleaded not guilty to one count of first-degree assault with a deadly weapon, four counts of first-degree burglary with a deadly weapon — “to wit, a bulldozer” — and four counts of first-degree malicious mischief.

He is being held in the Clallam County jail on $1 million bond.

Trial set Aug. 12

A one-week trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 12.

No one was injured when Swegle allegedly used a logging bulldozer he owned to smash up four homes, mangle a pickup truck and knock over a utility pole, cutting power to thousands of Clallam County Public Utility District customers.

Authorities said he had been in a property line dispute with his next door neighbor Dan Davis, who owned the pickup truck that was flattened and two of the four destroyed or badly damaged homes.

The property damage occurred near the intersections of North Baker Street and East Pioneer Road in Gales Addition just east of the city limit.

In a July 19 hearing, Unger said she may seek a change of venue because of widespread pretrial publicity, particularly locally.

The case made national and international news, and will be featured on ABC-TV's “20/20” newsmagazine later this month in a segment on “extreme examples of neighborhood disputes,” producer Harry Phillips has said.

Clallam County sheriff's deputies arrested Swegle without incident about 10 minutes after they were dispatched.

Unger filed an affidavit of prejudice stating a belief that Swegle “cannot have a fair and impartial trial” before Rohrer.

She did not immediately return a phone call seeking clarification Thursday.

Judge S. Brooke Taylor is scheduled to preside over Swegle's hearing today.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: August 01. 2013 6:04PM
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