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Hall waives preliminary hearing

May 23, 2000|By DON AINES

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - A Greencastle woman charged with criminal homicide and criminal conspiracy in the disappearance of her husband 15 years ago has waived her preliminary hearing on the charges, according to the Franklin County District Attorney's Office.

Joan Snyder Hall, 56, of 12850 Grant Shook Road, has been scheduled to appear in county court for mandatory arraignment on the charges Wednesday, June 7, according to District Justice Shirley Shatzer's office. Her arraignment will come two weeks before that of a co-defendant, Ronald W. Harshman, 51, of Hagerstown, District Attorney John F. Nelson said Monday.

Nelson said the attorneys for Hall agreed Friday to waive the preliminary hearing. The hearing had previously been postponed from an earlier date, he said.

Hall's attorneys, Patrick and Carol Redding, could not be reached for comment.

In April, Pennsylvania State Police charged Hall and Harshman with the May 25, 1985, disappearance of Melvin E. Snyder. His pickup truck was discovered two days later near Baltimore, but his body was never found, according to police.

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Nine years to the day after Snyder disappeared, Hall was interviewed by state police. In an affidavit of probable cause filed in April, police allege Hall said she helped Harshman plan the killing of her husband.

Police allege Hall told Harshman her husband would be in the barn alone and unarmed on the morning he disappeared. She said she was hurt and wanted Snyder dead because he had briefly run off with Harshman's wife in 1984, police allege in the affidavit.

The affidavit also alleged that Hall told police she saw Melvin Snyder's body in Harshman's basement on May 26, 1985.

Common Pleas Court Judge Douglas W. Herman ruled Wednesday that enough evidence had been presented by the prosecution to have Harshman bound over for court on the criminal homicide charge. Nelson had asked that the criminal conspiracy charge be withdrawn because he did not have testimony available on that count.

Harshman is being held without bond in Franklin County Prison. Hall was released on $100,000 bond in April.

In the affidavit of probable cause for Harshman, police allege they have matched a .25-caliber shell casing found in Snyder's barn in 1985 with a shell found an inch underground in the yard of Harshman's former home in Antrim Township in 1999.

A .25-caliber handgun Harshman purchased two months before Snyder disappeared has never been found, police said.

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