W.Va. man expected to get life sentence on 'three strikes rule'

Nathan Allen Snyder was previously convicted of two felonies before he was convicted of child abuse

April 25, 2013
  • Nathan Allen Snyder
West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A Bunker Hill, W.Va., man is expected to be sentenced to life in prison next month after a jury found Wednesday that he was previously convicted of two felonies before he was convicted of child abuse in February.

Nathan Allen Snyder, 29, is scheduled to be sentenced May 30 by 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge John C. Yoder.

The life sentence comes with the opportunity for parole after serving 15 years, Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely has said.

Snyder was convicted of four felony counts of child abuse resulting in bodily injury in Berkeley County Circuit Court. Jurors in his recidivist trial Wednesday found that he was also the same individual who was previously convicted of driving under the influence third offense in 2003 and 2006 in nearby Hampshire County, W.Va.

Under West Virginia’s recidivist statute, aka the “three strikes rule,” a person convicted of two felony offenses can see their sentence enhanced to a life sentence if they are convicted of a third or subsequent felony offense.


The jury seated for the Snyder’s recidivist trial Wednesday were presented with 10 state’s exhibits related to Snyder’s previous DUI convictions and asked to decide whether or not he was actually convicted of the crimes, according to court documents.

Snyder, 29, and his wife, Christina Ann Snyder, 44, were indicted in February 2010 on multiple counts of child abuse causing bodily injury. The couple was accused of depriving the children of food, shooting them with BBs and bottle rockets, beating them with a spoon and other mistreatment.

Christina Snyder, however, was only found guilty of one misdemeanor count of domestic battery by the jury and acquitted of felony counts of child abuse resulting in bodily injury that were pending against her.

She was placed on probation for five years earlier this month and ordered to register with the child abuse registry for 10 years.

The jury in their trial in February found her husband not guilty of eight felony counts of child abuse resulting in bodily injury.

Nathan Snyder was convicted of felony child abuse counts that alleged he punched one child, shot another with a BB gun, choked yet another child and beat a fourth with a metal spoon on the leg, according to court documents. The indictments against the couple had alleged that all of the crimes occurred between September 2008 and 2009.

His wife’s conviction on the misdemeanor offense is tied to an allegation that she punched one child in the stomach, according to her indictment.

— Matthew Umstead

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