Prosecutors will not seek the death penalty in the case
RBC I Nearly 300 Rio Blanco County residents were summoned to the county courthouse in Meeker Tuesday as jury selection began in the murder trial of Jerry Snider Jr. Snider faces first degree murder charges and aggravated robbery.
Snider is accused of killing of his father, Jerry Snider Sr., with a hatchet, then stealing his father’s truck and wallet before turning himself in one day later. Jerry Snider Jr. has plead not guilty by reason of insanity and remains in custody at the Rio Blanco County Jail.
Rio Blanco County’s clerk of courts and jury commissioner Susan Mills said jurors will report in “waves,” in order to accommodate the number of jurors in the courtroom. Prospective jurors will complete a questionnaire and be directed to a website to see if they have been selected. Twelve jurors will be selected along with four alternates and Mills expects the process to last two to three days. The trial is expected to last until Jan. 27.
Ninth Judicial District Attorney Martin Beeson, along with Jeff Cheney and Matt Barrett, will prosecute the case against Snider and public defender Tina Fang will serve as counsel for the defense. Judge Gail Nichols will preside over the case.
Judge Nichols denied a motion to have the trial moved to Garfield County because of pre-trial publicity.
Jerry Snider Sr.’s body was found in the living room of his Rangely home July 3, 2009. The cause of death was blunt trauma injury. It is believed he was killed July 2. A bloodied hatchet was found in the home during a search of the property.
Jerry Snider Jr. abandoned his father’s truck in Idaho Springs and turned himself in to the Clear Creek County sheriff’s office in Georgetown July 3.
Prosecutors will not seek the death penalty in the case. Snider could face life in prison if convicted.
According to Mills, the last murder tried in Rio Blanco County was in 1999, when William Charles McDowell’s trial was moved from Garfield County to Meeker.
McDowell was tried and convicted of first degree murder in the death of his wife and sentenced to life in prison.