Advertisement

Trial date set in old Pa. homicide

April 30, 2001

Trial date set in old Pa. homicide



By DON AINES / Staff Writer


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A trial date has been set for a Franklin County woman charged with criminal homicide in the 1985 disappearance of her husband.

Jury selection for the trial of Joan Snyder Hall will be held Monday, May 14, with the trial to begin the next day, Franklin County District Attorney John F. Nelson said Friday.

Hall, 57, of 12850 Grant Shook Road, Greencastle, Pa., was charged with criminal homicide and criminal conspiracy on April 11, 2000, in connection with the May 1985 disappearance of her husband, Melvin Snyder.

Snyder, 42, disappeared from his home on May 25, 1985, according to Pennsylvania State Police records. He was declared legally dead seven years later, but his body has never been found, according to court records.

Advertisement

Much of the evidence against Hall rests on tape-recorded statements she made to police in 1994, in which she allegedly implicated herself and Ronald West Harshman, 52, of 11807 Clearview Road, Hagerstown.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, Hall told police she was upset because of an affair Snyder had with Harshman's wife and told Harshman when Snyder could be found alone and unarmed. The affidavit also stated Hall told police she saw her husband's body in Harshman's basement.

Those statements are the subject of a motion to suppress by her attorney, Patrick J. Redding. A hearing on the motion was held Feb. 27 and reconvened March 13. As of Friday afternoon Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge Carol Van Horn had yet to issue a ruling on the motion, the County Clerk of Courts Office said.

Harshman is also charged with criminal homicide in the disappearance of Snyder. A criminal conspiracy charge filed at the same time was later withdrawn, according to court records.

Harshman and Hall are out on bond.

Harshman and his attorney, David S. Keller, will be at the courthouse next week to discuss a trial date, Nelson said. A trial during the May trial term is possible, but Nelson said scheduling problems could push the case back to July.

Keller said Wednesday he will ask for a March trial.

At Harshman's preliminary hearing last year, witnesses testified that a spent .25-caliber shell casing was found in Snyder's barn after his disappearance. State police also testified at the hearing that another .25-caliber shell casing had been found 14 years later in the yard of Harshman's former home in Antrim Township, Pa.

No firearm was ever recovered, but a ballistics expert testified the casings were probably fired from the same weapon. The prosecution also introduced evidence at the preliminary hearing that Harshman had purchased a .25-caliber handgun prior to Harshman's disappearance.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|