The Daily Item
— Update: Today, March 8, 2013
MIDDLEBURG — A district judge in Snyder County ruled today that there is enough evidence to hold Jennifer Snook for trial on a second-degree murder charge in the stabbing death of 71-year-old Bonnie Jean Snook.
District Judge Lori Hackenberg heard testimony in Middleburg before issuing the ruling this afternoon.
MIDDLEBURG — A Sunbury woman allegedly involved in the stabbing death of 71-year-old Bonnie Jean Snook is facing two new charges, including second-degree criminal homicide.
Jennifer Snook, 30, also faces a charge of conspiracy to commit criminal homicide against a “friend” at a bar in Northumberland, an incident that police believe ignited a night of violence Sunday in Snyder County.
Snook appeared briefly Thursday before District Judge Lori Hackenberg when Snyder County District Attorney Mike Piecuch added the new charges because, he said, “There are still more pieces of evidence coming in.”
Piecuch asked Hackenberg to consider the charges.
Snyder County public defender Patrick Johnson, who is representing Jennifer Snook, said he had concerns about the charges because they should have been in the original criminal complaint.
“Why weren’t those charges there?” he asked.
Evidence is still being collected, Piecuch responded.
Hackenberg accepted the two new charges.
Johnson asked for a continuance to review the additional charges.
Piecuch agreed, then asked Hackenberg to raise the $75,000 cash bail that was placed on Jennifer Snook on Sunday night.
Hackenberg said she had concerns about Jennifer Snook being a flight risk. Johnson argued that bail should stay the same because the new charges weren’t even discussed yet.
All had agreed Jennifer Snook did not kill Bonnie Jean Snook, the grandmother of her husband, Johnson said.
“It is undisputed that my client is not the one who committed these violent acts,” he said. “I don’t think there should be any bail modification.”
Hackenberg listened, then raised the bail to $85,000 cash.
Jennifer Snook was led out of the courtroom and placed inside a holding area, where she could be seen crying.
Jennifer Snook had earlier been charged with burglary, two counts of conspiracy, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, firearms not to be carried without a license and a misdemeanor count of possession of a weapon.
“We feel we have enough to support the charges,” Piecuch said after the hearing. “We didn’t file those charges initially because at that point when we need to file we were still in flux. We now feel we can support those charges.”
According to police documents, Jennifer Snook was with her husband, Joshua Snook, when he went to the Beaver Township home of his grandparents early Sunday morning, state police at Selinsgrove allege.
A struggle ensued at that home and Bonnie Snook was stabbed and died at the scene. Her husband, Dale, was injured and later transported to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.
Joshua Snook has been jailed on a parole violation and has not yet been charged in connection with his grandmother’s death.
Piecuch said charges would be filed within the next week, but reserved comment on what those charges would be.
According to court documents filed by state police, Joshua and Jennifer Snook were in a Northumberland bar on Saturday night with a “friend,” when an unspecified altercation occurred and the unidentified friend assaulted Joshua Snook.
Joshua and Jennifer Snook left the bar and went to Bonnie and Dale Snook’s residence, intent on getting a gun and returning to the bar and getting back at the third party for the assault, court documents state.
Joshua Snook entered the home, while Jennifer Snook waited in a vehicle in a cemetery near the Creek Road residence, police said.
Joshua Snook retrieved a Ruger P85 9mm handgun, but then a struggle ensued between Bonnie and Dale Snook and their grandson, court documents said.
At some point during the struggle, Bonnie Snook was stabbed, resulting in her death, and Dale Snook was wounded in an arm, according to the documents.
Joshua Snook left the residence with the handgun and got back in the vehicle with Jennifer Snook. The couple’s car was pulled over by police about a mile from the residence on Creek Road, according to police, who reported that the handgun was found inside the vehicle.
Police said Joshua Snook admitted the reason he and his wife left the bar was to get the gun from his grandparents and scare the “friend.”
Police also interviewed Joshua Snook’s father, Jay Snook, who said his son called him about 3 a.m. Jay Snook originally missed the call because he was at work. Then, 10 minutes later, when he returned the call, Joshua Snook said he was going to Bonnie and Dale Snook’s to get the gun and kill the “friend” because of the previous assault, police said.
Joshua Snook allegedly told his father the “friend” had expressed interest in a personal relationship with Jennifer Snook, court documents said.