Inmate accused in bulldozer rampage brings bag of bugs to court

Inmate accused in bulldozer rampage brings bag of bugs to court
At left, Barry Swegle at a court hearing in July. At right, a Clallam County corrections deputy holds the bag of bugs brought into the courtroom Wednesday. (Peninsula Daily News photo)
PORT ANGELES, Wash. - A Port Angeles man accused of bulldozing several pieces of property - including houses - brought a plastic bag full of dead bugs to a court hearing this week.

Barry Swegle says he wanted to show Clallam County Superior Court Judge George Wood what he has to live with in his Clallam County jail cell, where he is being held on $1 million bail.

“I want the judge to see them. There are thousands,” Swegle told Unger during the status hearing. “There are all kinds of bugs that I've had to live with.”

Wood declined to look at the bag, telling Swegle he would need to speak with jail administration to complain about the cleanliness of his cell.

Clallam County Jail Superintendent Ron Sukert said later that he had seen the bag.

“I was shown the bag a short time ago, and it contains what looks like some dead ants and bugs,” Sukert said. “There was nothing living in the bag.”

Sukert said jail staff had been made aware last week of ants that had gotten into the cell where Swegle is being held and brought in an exterminator to kill them.

“The issue of the insects was dealt with last week,” Sukert said.

An exterminator sprays the jail on a regular basis to prevent insects from getting in, Sukert said, though individual cells do sometimes see more insects during the warmer months of the year.

“In the summer months, when bugs are out moving around, is when we have experienced it in the past,” Sukert said.

Swegle is being held in a cell with one other inmate, Sukert said, and shares a common day room with another two-person cell.

Swegle, 51, is accused of using a bulldozer he owned to damage or destroy four homes, several outbuildings, a boat, a pickup truck and a power pole along North Pioneer Road in Gales Addition just east of Port Angeles on May 10.

Swegle 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.

Swegle next will appear in Clallam County Superior Court this Friday at 9 a.m. for a case status hearing.

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