The brother of a Port Angeles man accused of using a bulldozer to demolish four neighboring homes said Sunday the incident stemmed from a dispute over a fence, something he called “a ticking time bomb.”
Barry Swegle is in Clallam County Jail, charged with two counts of first-degree assault and six counts of first-degree malicious mischief. Authorities believe Swegle used his bulldozer to damage a quartet of houses, a boat, a pickup truck and a power pole.
He also allegedly tore down the fence.
While not condoning his brother’s actions, Jeff Swegle said people should understand what led to Friday’s incident.
“I knew he was capable of tearing the fence out,” Swegle said, “Not the homes and the power pole. I didn’t think he was that mad.”
Swegle said his brother had been battling with his neighbor over the fence for months. The issue, Swegle said, was the fence prevented him moving his logging equipment in and out.
“If you’re looking for a reason why,” Swegle explained. “That’s what set him off. That fence.”
Jeff Swegle said his brother needs to apologize, adding that he should not have taken things to this extreme.
“He’ll lose everything over it,” he said, “He’ll have to sell everything to make restitution. It’s a hard lesson.”
Barry Swegle is expected to make his first court appearance Monday.