The Belgrade man who recently held a woman captive in her own home for six hours and caused a lockdown in the Four Corners area for more than 12 hours is still jailed in Salt Lake City, according to Deputy County Attorney Bjorn Boyer.
After the April 29 stand-off that started around 8:40 a.m. at the Forest Park Trailer Park on Norris Road, Justin James Swanson attempted suicide. He shot himself in the head, didn’t die and was hospitalized in Bozeman before being airlifted to Salt Lake.
He has “medical issues that make transporting him difficult,” Boyer said. “When he is discharged from the (Salt Lake) county jail we’ll transport him back here.”
When first shot, he was put in a medically induced coma, and given an uncertain prognosis.
In May, Swanson’s bail was set at $1 million. He has waived extradition, meaning that when he is well enough to travel, the state won’t have extra legal hoops to jump through to get him back to Montana, Boyer explained.
The woman in question told officials that Swanson told her that morning that he had been hiding in her trailer and waiting for her for two days. When she finally walked through her door, he tackled her, and over the course of the day tasered here three or four times.
She showed up at her home with a male friend. When they got to her front door, she walked through the door first, and then screamed when Swanson immediately tasered her. The friend tried to get into the trailer, but Swanson pointed a gun at him, moved him outside the trailer and locked him out.
The friend then ran to get help from some deputies who were on the road conducting a traffic stop. That friend told law enforcement Swanson had been stalking the woman to the point she had recently moved her trailer to another location to get away from him. He also said she had told him she was having issues with someone named Justin, who had stalked her before, even going so far as to move from Colorado to Montana to be nearer to her, despite her repeatedly telling him she had no romantic interest in him.
According to court documents, this mess started in February 2020, when the two met on the dating site, FarmersOnly.com. The woman states they talked on the phone and texted, but she was clear that that was all she wanted. He visited from Colorado in the spring of 2020; she again stressed she only wanted to be friends. He then said he needed to get away from Colorado and had always wanted to live in Montana, so he moved to Belgrade.
She was living with an aunt in the county and noticed Swanson apparently starting to stalk her. Her aunt reported seeing him driving by the property numerous times; the woman in question told authorities he also started coming by her workplace. While she was being held captive, Swanson admitted to her that he had been driving around looking for her vehicle at various trailer parks, she said.
He told her he had even followed her to the Law & Justice Center one day, which was unknown to her.
- A deputy sheriff interviewed one of the woman’s coworkers, who admitted Swanson had been by the workplace, and said he had admitted he was stalking her to see if she was dating someone. At the time he told her coworker he would “kill the mother.”
One of Swanson’s coworkers told the deputy she had seen Swanson crying at work; he said he was upset over his “girlfriend.”
When deputies first approached the trailer on April 29, Swanson told deputies he “had enough explosives to make a fireball.” Court documents added that Swanson had set a five-gallon bucket of gasoline and a road flare outside the trailer’s front door, and that the woman told authorities he had “a few guns” with him and that her guns were also in the trailer.
The deputy reported talking through the wall to Swanson, and that he had two handguns.
The woman was hospitalized after Swanson let her go.
Swanson was charged with felony aggravated kidnapping and felony rape. Both charges come with a maximum fine of $50,000 and a prison sentence of two to 100 years. Kidnapping can carry the death penalty; rape with life in prison.