Man accused of locking daughter in basement held on $750,000 bail
A Lake County judge Thursday ordered a Waukegan man held on $750,000 bail while he awaits trial on allegations he locked his 11-year-old daughter in the basement for more than a year because he believed she was possessed.
A plea of not guilty to the charges was entered on behalf of Randy Swopes, 49, after he remained silent when Judge Victoria Rossetti asked for his plea.
Swopes is charged with felony unlawful restraint and two misdemeanor counts of child endangerment. He could be sentenced to a maximum three years in prison if found guilty of the felony charge.
Swopes, who is representing himself, was asking to go free from the Lake County jail on a signature bond while awaiting trial. He argued in court he did not "have the means to fight the case" while in jail, is not a flight risk and is not violent.
However, he also told Rossetti he plans to move back to his Liberty Street home, into the "basement apartment" where he is accused of locking up his daughter. The home is also occupied by his wife, Katherine, and a court-ordered no contact order is in place between the two.
Assistant Lake County State's Attorney Stella Day said in court that Swopes locked his daughter in the basement with no toilet. She rarely was allowed outside, and the basement's light bulbs would be removed at night, Day said.
Swopes and his wife were charged July 17, after police learned the daughter was forced to live in the basement because her parents believed she was "possessed by a demon," authorities said.
In subsequent court appearances, Randy Swopes claimed Lake County judges, lawyers and politicians were part of rituals that involved drinking blood and sexually assaulting children.
Swopes was deemed unfit to stand trial in December, but earlier this month the Illinois Department of Public Health declared him fit and he returned to the county jail.
Katherine Swopes, 49, is free on a $25,000 signature bond. As part of her conditions of release, she is under a 24-hour curfew, prohibited from having drugs or alcohol and may not have contact with her husband, the victim or her three other children, ages 7, 13 and 15.
Randy Swopes is due back in court Jan. 31.