The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 20, 2013

Snyder County murder suspect seeks transfer to state prison

By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item

MIDDLEBURG — A request by homicide suspect Joshua M. Snook for transfer from Snyder County jail to state prison to await trial has been referred by a county judge to the warden.
Snook’s defense attorney, Rachel Wiest Benner, filed a court motion requesting the transfer since the state has a detainer on Snook for a parole violation on a 2009 drunken driving conviction. 
Snook, 28, of Sunbury, is charged with criminal homicide in the Feb. 17 stabbing death of his grandmother, Bonnie J. Snook, 72, in her Beaver Township home. His wife, Jennifer Snook, 29, is charged with second-degree homicide and conspiracy in connection with the attack.
President Judge Michael H. Sholley said he has no authority to grant a transfer and said the decision is up to Snyder County jail Warden Ruth Rush.
Rush and county Commissioners Malcolm Derk and Joseph Kantz were subpoenaed by the defense to appear at the Tuesday hearing. She said she isn’t opposed to the transfer but would first discuss the matter with District Attorney Michael Piecuch.
Piecuch told the court he doesn’t care where Snook is held pending trial, but said he is concerned that a move to state prison could further delay the case because Snook has yet to undergo the psychiatric evaluation requested by the defense. 
Wiest also informed the court that Snook wants to communicate with his wife, who was moved out of Snyder County jail last week and into the Northumberland County jail in Sunbury.
Rush would not disclose what prompted Jennifer Snook’s transfer after nine months. She said the Snooks were initially allowed limited communications under the supervision of Deputy Warden Shawn Cooper, but lost the privilege when they tried to sneak notes to each other.
Sholley said he would consider the defense request.