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Jury seated for child abuse trial of Berkeley County couple

January 29, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W. Va. — A jury of nine men and three women were seated Tuesday for the trial of a Berkeley County couple accused of abusing five children in their custody, depriving them of food, shooting them with BBs and bottle rockets, and other mistreatment.

The jury panel, along with three alternate jurors, were sworn in about 5:15 p.m. to hear evidence in the state’s case against Christina Ann Snyder, 44, and Nathan Allen Snyder, 29, of Bunker Hill, W.Va.

Christina Snyder was indicted by a Berkeley County grand jury in February 2010 on five felony counts of child abuse causing bodily injury, and her husband was indicted on 13 counts.

The alleged abuse occurred between 2008 and 2009, according to court documents.

A pool of 70 prospective jurors were asked more than 90 questions as part of the day-long jury selection process, according to court officials.

The type of the case contributed to the length of the voire dire, another name for the questioning process, according to Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely.

The trial has been postponed multiple times after originally being scheduled for June 2010, according to court documents.

Nathan Snyder’s arrest in Virginia on an unrelated offense in December 2010 after he was indicted was a contributing factor in delaying the trial, according to Games-Neely. The Snyders elected to be tried together after being indicted separately, Games-Neely said.

Snyder was ordered to serve 18 months in prison in Frederick County (Va.) Circuit Court after he pleaded guilty to DUI fourth offense within 10 years and driving without a valid license, according to the court’s online case information database. The remainder of a five-year sentence was suspended.

Presiding 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge John C. Yoder denied a motion to reinstate Snyder’s bond in May 2012, after the defendant completed his prison sentence in Virginia, according to court documents.

In the pending child abuse case, the victims told police they were burned with cigarettes, beaten and punched, and one was made to run laps around a gravel road in his bare feet, according to court records.

Nathan Snyder is being represented by Thomas Stanley and his wife is being represented by Christopher J. Prezioso.

Yoder thanked those in the jury pool who were not chosen for the trial for fulfilling their duty, which he said is “extremely important” to the nation’s justice system.

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