Man sentenced to life again in '86 slaying Snyder was re-convicted in death of his wife

October 25, 1997|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

William L. Snyder Sr., whose 1993 murder conviction and life sentence were overturned by an appeals court, was re-sentenced to life in prison yesterday.

"Two juries have spoken," Baltimore County Circuit Judge Thomas J. Bollinger Sr. told Snyder. The judge sentenced Snyder to prison, "for the balance of your natural life" for murdering his wife on Valentine's Day 1986.

Snyder, a used car salesman from the Relay area, was first convicted in 1993 of murdering his wife, Frances Snyder, 43, by beating her to death in the couple's driveway in the 1800 block of Clark Blvd., and dragging her body into a wooded culvert nearby.

Two years later, the Court of Special Appeals overturned the conviction, ruling that police speculation had improperly been entered as evidence during the trial. In the original trial, officers testified that they had interviewed people who said Frances Snyder, was terrified of her husband and that they had "enough proof" of what happened.

The appeals court ruled that the officers' statements violated due process and rendered the trial unfair.

This June, Snyder was convicted again, for the second time on the basis of circumstantial evidence showing he had the motive of a $170,000 life insurance policy.

Yesterday, prosecutor James O'C. Gentry Jr. asked for a life sentence, saying that Snyder "decided to take the life of a person who was the mother of his children."

Snyder told Bollinger, "I'm innocent."

Defense lawyer James J. Gitomer asked for a 15-year sentence for Snyder, noting he had no criminal record before the slaying.

At yesterday's sentencing, several members of Snyder's family sat in the courtroom separately.

"One of the most tragic things is how this has torn apart your family," Bollinger said.

Pub Date: 10/25/97

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