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Trial date set in Pa. man's death

June 07, 2000

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Greencastle, Pa., woman charged in the death of her missing husband pleaded innocent Wednesday in Franklin County Court and was scheduled for trial in July.

Joan Snyder Hall, 56, of 12850 Grant Shook Road, is charged with criminal homicide and criminal conspiracy in the disappearance of Melvin E. Snyder, who was last seen May 25, 1985.

Pennsylvania State Police charged her and Ronald W. Harshman, 51, of Hagerstown, on April 11.

Melvin Snyder's body was never found. He was declared legally dead in 1993, court records said.

According to the affidavit of probable cause for Hall and Harshman, Hall allegedly told police in 1994 she told Harshman where and when her husband could be found alone and unarmed. The affidavit alleged that Hall also told police she saw Snyder's body in Harshman's basement on May 26, 1985.

The affidavit said Hall told police she wanted her husband dead because of a 1984 affair he had with Harshman's wife.

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At the hearing, evidence was introduced that Harshman bought a .25-caliber handgun two months before Snyder disappeared, but the gun was never found.

Police found a .25-caliber shell casing in Snyder's barn in 1985. It was not until July 1999 that a .25-caliber shell casing was found outside Harshman's former Antrim Township home, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit said ballistics tests indicated both were fired from the same gun.

The Franklin County District Attorney's Office submitted the Harshman case to an investigating grand jury that issued a presentment in October 1999 recommending he be charged with criminal homicide, according to court records. The presentment was unsealed when the charges were filed.

The grand jury issued no presentment on Hall, according to court records.

Hall waived her preliminary hearing last month and is out of jail on $100,000 bond, according to court records.

Harshman was denied bond and is in Franklin County Prison awaiting mandatory arraignment on Wednesday, June 21.

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