Trial date set on charges stemming from bulldozer rampage

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — A Port Angeles man accused of destroying neighbors' homes with a bulldozer will face trial Aug. 12, a judge said today.

Barry Swegle, 51, has pleaded not guilty to nine charges, including first-degree assault with a deadly weapon, in connection with a May 10 logging-bulldozer attack in Gales Addition east of the city in what authorities said was a fence-related property line dispute.

Swegle, being held in the Clallam County jail on $1 million bail, allegedly destroyed three houses, two of them owned by neighbor Dan Davis, ran over Davis' pickup truck, knocked down a power pole and damaged another house in a period of about 10 to 15 minutes.

There were no injuries.

Clallam County Superior Court Judge George L. Wood set 9 a.m. June 14 for a status hearing on the case and 9 a.m. Aug. 12 for the beginning of Swegle's trial.

Along with the assault charge, Swegle also pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree burglary with a deadly weapon — “to wit, a bulldozer” — and four counts of first-degree malicious mischief.

Davis' wife, Mary, fled the couple's home as Swegle began bulldozing it, and Swegle threatened Dan Davis during the rampage, authorities said.

Wood also ruled that Swegle's bail will remain at $1 million.

Swegle's attorney, Karen Unger, argued that Swegle's bail should be reduced, saying, “at best, this is a property offense.”

The burglary and assault charges carry maximum sentences of life in prison without parole. The malicious-mischief charges have maximum 10-year sentences.

A report filed after Swegle's arrest said that he told an arresting deputy that he “is tired of dealing with [Davis] over property issues.”
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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at paul.gottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 17. 2013 11:32AM
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