The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


June 24, 2013

Attorneys say slaying suspect needs mental exam

They ask Snyder judge to order one

MIDDLEBURG — Defense attorneys for homicide suspect Joshua M. Snook want a psychiatrist to evaluate Snook’s competency to stand trial on charges of fatally slashing his grandmother’s throat and wounding his grandfather in their Beaver Township home in February.

A motion filed by court-appointed attorneys Rachel Wiest Benner and James Best asks Snyder County Judge Michael H. Hudock to appoint Dr. Clarence Watson, a Philadelphia psychiatrist, to examine Snook, 28, of Sunbury, who they claim has a “significant” history of mental health and substance abuse issues. A hearing on the motion is scheduled for Sept. 10.

Snook is being held without bail on charges of criminal homicide, burglary, robbery, aggravated assault and 19 other felony and misdemeanor counts in connection with the Feb. 17 fatal stabbing of his grandmother, Bonnie J. Snook, 71, and assault on his grandfather, Dale W. Snook, 72, inside their Creek Road home.

Snook’s wife, Jennifer, 29, is being held in lieu of $85,000 bail on charges of second-degree homicide, conspiracy to commit burglary, theft and seven other counts.

State investigators allege the pair were in a Sunbury bar before the stabbing when Joshua Snook argued with a man who struck him in the chest and neck.

The couple left the bar, allegedly with the intention of getting a gun from the home of Joshua Snook’s grandparents that they would use to scare the man.

They arrived in Beaver Township sometime around 3:30 a.m. Jennifer Snook stayed in the car while her husband broke a window to enter the elderly couple’s home where his 9-year-old son was also staying, according to court records.

Inside the house, police allege, Joshua Snook slashed Bonnie Snook in the neck with a knife, killing her, as he searched for weapons and ammunition.

Dale Snook, who was stabbed in the arm, called 911 and could be heard on the recording pleading with his grandson to leave the house so he could get help for Bonnie Snook.

Moments later, Joshua and Jennifer Snook were stopped by police while driving away from the scene with Snook’s young son in the backseat. A Rugar 9mm handgun and ammunition were found in the car.

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