Listen to this post
RBC I Opening statements were heard Wednesday in the murder trial of 30-year-old Jerry Snider Jr.
Snider is charged with first degree murder in the 2009 death of his father, Jerry Snider Sr. The younger Snider has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and is being defended by public defenders Tina Fang and Tammy Brady of Glenwood Springs.
Ninth Judicial District Attorney Martin Beeson, along with Jeff Cheney and Matt Barrett, will prosecute the case against Jerry Snider Jr. Judge Gail Nichols will preside over the case.
Snider is accused of striking his father several times in the head with a hatchet, then stealing his wallet and truck and driving to Denver. Snider has been held without bond in the Rio Blanco County Jail since turning himself in to the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Department July 3, 2009, the same day Snider Sr.’s body was found in his Rangely home.
Judge Nichols gave instructions to the jury before Beeson presented the prosecution’s opening arguments.
Beeson said Snider has a long history of alcohol and drug abuse, although toxicology reports from Rangely District Hospital July 2 showed no alcohol or drugs in Snider’s system. His mental condition was attributed to voluntary ingestion of alcohol and drugs and withdrawal symptoms after a week-long drinking “bender” that ended June 30.
Beeson said Snider sought medical attention several times between 2000 and July 2, 2009, but had never been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic.
Beeson said Snider told a psychiatrist in August 2009 that he knew it was wrong to kill and told the psychiatrist, “Before I even hit him, I tried to talk myself out of it.”
In Brady’s opening arguments for the defense, she said Snider had a “complete mental breakdown and it ended tragically.”
Brady said Snider is schizophrenic and has been for a long time. “He sees and hears things that are not real.” Brady said Snider believed the voices he was hearing that day were coming from his father and that his father was going to kill him.
Rick Adams, the first witness for the defense, picked up Snider July 3 on I-70 near Georgetown. Adams said Snider told him “I may have just killed a man” and asked Adams to drive him to the nearest police station, the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Department, where Snider was taken into custody.
The trial is expected to last until Jan. 27.