Bulldozer suspect thought he was ‘crucified,’ documents reveal

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES — A Port Angeles man accused of rolling through multiple homes in Gales Addition with a bulldozer in May told psychologists he believes he was “crucified” at some point in his garage, according to a mental evaluation report.

Barry A. Swegle, 51, told Western State Hospital psychologists last month that he believes a scar on his chin is evidence of his crucifixion, according to a report on an Oct. 22 mental evaluation of Swegle obtained by the Peninsula Daily News.

“[Swegle] indicated ‘proof’ of his crucifixion was a now present scar on his chin that had not existed prior (Mr. Swegle’s reported scar was not observed by the evaluators),” Western State psychologists Richard Yocum and Marilyn A. Ronnei wrote in the report.

Swegle also told the psychologists that he believes Karen Unger, his retained defense attorney, and brother Jeff Swegle may be conspiring against him in the case in which Barry Swegle is accused of tearing a path of destruction through a Gales Addition neighborhood May 10.

“[Swegle’s] thought processes were grossly logical, coherent, and organized, with paranoid and delusional content, as well as some religious preoccupation,” the psychologists wrote.

Clallam County Superior Court Judge George L. Wood cited the report in declaring Swegle mentally incompetent to stand trial during a Nov. 1 court hearing and ordered him to undergo treatment to restore his competency at Western State Hospital in Lakewood.

Swegle, who is in the Clallam County jail on $1 million bail, is set to appear in Superior Court on Jan. 14 for a review his treatment, which is expected to take 90 days.

Psychologists said Swegle presented as “significantly more delusional” in October than he did during a Sept. 6 mental evaluation.

The report, for example, cited Swegle trying to fire Unger during a Sept. 13 court hearing.

“Mr. Swegle indicated it is his intention to ‘go to trial’ and put on ‘evidence’ of the conspiracies against him,” the doctors wrote in the report.

“Mr. Swegle’s purported evidence consists of the delusional material noted above.”

Swegle allegedly destroyed or damaged four homes, a tractor, a boat, a pickup truck, a power pole and multiple outbuildings.

He is charged with one count of first-degree assault with a deadly weapon and four counts each of first-degree malicious mischief and first-degree burglary with a deadly weapon — “to wit, a bulldozer.”

John Troberg, the Clallam County deputy prosecuting attorney assigned to the case, filed a motion Sept. 19 to change the charges to seven counts of first-degree malicious mischief, three counts of reckless endangerment and two counts of residential burglary-aggravated circumstances.

No court decision on the motion to amend has been made.


Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: November 10. 2013 7:37PM
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