By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News
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The ABC News newsmagazine “20/20,” airing at 10 p.m. on Channel 4, likely will feature the property carnage at the top of the hourlong program, which focuses on extreme neighborhood disputes, producer Harry Phillips said Thursday.
Barry Swegle, 51, who has been charged with nine felonies in connection with the incident, allegedly boarded his bulldozer and damaged or destroyed four homes, a pickup truck, a power pole, a boat, a tractor and several outbuildings over a fence dispute with his neighbor Dan Davis.
“We have video of the rampage, of the bulldozer doing its damage,” Phillips said, adding that ABC also has photos of the incident as it was occurring.
“It's just an extraordinarily graphic display of conflict between neighbors,” he said.
“It's one of those things that are so visual and so dramatic because we have the video.”
Phillips would not comment on the source of the video or whether the network paid for it, adding, “We have a very strict policy, about the strictest of the major networks, on what we can purchase and who we can purchase it from.”
More than $200,000 of damage was inflicted on Davis' property, where two homes, a pickup truck, a boat, a garage and car trailer were destroyed, Davis, 75, said Thursday.
They had a dispute over a fence that Davis erected and Swegle allegedly tore down because it made it difficult for Swegle to maneuver his heavy equipment.
Davis said, “You bet,” when asked whether he will watch “20/20” tonight.
“We are going to watch it to see what the rest of the world will see about our problem,” he said.
“He wanted to use my place with no compensation. He was just a screwball over it.”
Swegle, charged with four counts of first-degree burglary, four counts of first-degree malicious mischief and one count of first-degree assault with a deadly weapon, had his Sept. 24 trial indefinitely postponed Monday so he can receive a mental competency evaluation.
John Troberg, Clallam County deputy prosecuting attorney, said he was filing a motion Thursday to amend the charges in Clallam County Superior Court that would replace the existing charges.
The new charges are to be seven counts of felony first-degree malicious mischief, one of which is aggravated due to the damage inflicted on Davis' property; two counts of felony residential burglary, each with aggravated circumstances due to the victims allegedly being in residences when the structures were bashed with the bulldozer; and three counts of reckless endangerment, which are gross misdemeanors.
“The amended information better reflects and is more consistent with the admissible evidence and offenses which the state can prove at trial,” Troberg said Thursday.
The motion will not be heard until Judge George L. Wood determines whether Swegle is mentally competent.
Swegle is in the Clallam County jail on $1 million bail.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at email@example.com.