Bulletin Staff Report

The owner of a Terrebonne landscape company has been cleared of charges stemming from his arrest in May for allegedly assaulting a former employee.

Justin Richard Swope, 41, was the subject of a May 24 article in The Bulletin: “Gun-wielding landscaper, brother arrested after fight with former employee.”

Police sent media a release May 24 reporting shots were fired during a dispute between an employer and employee. According to the press release, Swope and his brother, Jonathan Paul Stark, 37, were said to have driven to the campsite of a former employee about five miles southwest of Sisters to settle an ongoing dispute.

Swope was later arrested in a traffic stop and taken to jail. He was indicted on five criminal counts, including two felonies, and granted conditional release from jail June 13.

On Monday, Deschutes County Circuit judges signed orders dismissing all charges against Swope and Stark without prejudice, meaning charges could be brought in the future.

Swope told The Bulletin the arrest and subsequent media attention damaged his reputation as a father and made it difficult for him to conduct business.

“The article, which was written from a police report I understand, only reports one side of the story, and it is exaggerated,” Swope wrote to The Bulletin.

Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said the victim in the case didn’t appear before a grand jury so there was insufficient evidence to obtain an indictment.

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