The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


April 1, 2014

Bench trial OK'd for suspect in yoga master's murder

— LEWISBURG — Union-Snyder Judge Michael T. Hudock will preside at the murder trial of Joel R. Snider in June and decide his fate.

Snider, 37, of St. Louis, Mo., was granted a bench trial Tuesday after waiving his right to a jury trial.

“I’m taking (prescription medication) and believe I am of sound mind to understand,” he told Hudock during the morning hearing, held to determine whether Snider was fully aware that he was giving up his right to select a 12-member jury that would have to reach a unanimous verdict.

Snider faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of the July 2010 murder of New Berlin yoga master Sudharman.

The 70-year-old victim, also known as Joe Fenton, was fatally shot in his home, which also served as a yoga studio.

The bench trial is scheduled to begin June 2.

Co-defense counsel Edward “E.J.” Rymsza and William Miele are pursing a mental health defense for Snider, who allegedly sent emails to an acquaintance describing his plan to kill Sudharman before the slaying took place.

In January, prosecutor Anthony Forray, a deputy attorney general appointed to the case after Union County District Attorney D. Peter Johnson recused himself because he was a friend of the victim, withdrew capital punishment as a possible penalty.

Hudock said Snider will be transferred from the State Correctional Institution at Coal Township to the Union County Jail about a month before the trial to allow the defense attorneys easier access to him. Snider was moved to state prison about a year ago, officials said, for his and others’ safety after he allegedly assaulted another inmate and complained of being harassed by cellmates.

Snider’s appearance has changed quite a bit during the more than three years he’s been in custody.

At the time of his arrest, the then 33-year-old was clean-shaven and bald. In February, he came to court with a mop of brown curly hair, a bushy beard and dark-rimmed glasses. On Tuesday, his beard was shaved, and his slick hair was combed back.

Text Only
  • Baby, 3 others hurt in Route 11 crash near Danville

    DANVILLE — Two women, an infant and the baby’s 2-year-old girl sister were taken to Geisinger Medical Center following a three-vehicle chain-reaction accident at 3:14 p.m. Friday on Route 11 near Steve Shannon Tire and Auto Center in Mahoning Township.

    July 26, 2014

  • eyebrows.jpg Coming Sunday: Browsing for brows

    As makeup sales soar, four tips to make your eyebrows raise others'. Coming Sunday

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • William Cameron to spend $12,000 to find new chief

    LEWISBURG — The William Cameron Engine Company will pay a State College consulting firm more than $12,000 to help the Lewisburg fire house find its first paid chief after its first national search to fill the job ended without a new leader.

    July 26, 2014

  • Ann Targonski DA clears officer in Sunbury shooting

    SUNBURY — Three shots from a Taser could not stop 390-pound Erick Trometter from attacking Sunbury’s then-acting Police Chief Brad Hare with a large filet knife, so the veteran officer drew his gun and shot the 22-year-old city man in the leg, according to a report issued Friday.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • stauffer25br.jpg Area cyclist pedals 4,233 miles in 21 days for race

    Growing up in a Mennonite family, Jesse Stauffer often traveled the roads in Snyder County on a bicycle.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Amazon worker pilots drone around Space Needle

    Police say an out-of-town Amazon employee was the operator behind a drone that buzzed the Seattle Space Needle this week.

    July 25, 2014

  • Carjacked vehicle strikes crowd, killing 2 kids

    Two men forced a woman into the backseat of her car at gunpoint and drove it into a group of people on a corner in Philadelphia on Friday, killing two children and critically injuring three other people, police said.

    July 25, 2014

  • Man calls police chief "brain dead"

    A Liberty Township man was cited for placing a sign calling Mahoning Township’s police chief “brain dead and hell bound.”

    July 25, 2014

  • New warden returning to Lewisburg penitentiary

    David J. Ebbert has been tapped to replace Jeff Thomas as warden at United States Penitentiary in Lewisburg.

    July 25, 2014

  • Fast food workers to escalate wage demands

    Fast food workers say they’re prepared to escalate their campaign for higher wages and union representation, starting with a national convention in suburban Chicago where more than 1,000 workers are expected to discuss the future of the effort that has spread to dozens of cities in less than two years.

    July 25, 2014

The Daily Marquee

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.