The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

February 27, 2013

Suspect asks to waive jury trial in homicide case

— LEWISBURG — Accused killer Joel R. Snider wants to dismiss his attorneys and waive a jury trial, expressing his frustration with the justice system in a four-page letter to Union County Judge Michael Hudock.

“I would like to waive the guilt phase of my trial and the sentencing-mitigating phase. I do not accept the U.S. Justice System as having any authority over me,” Snider, 36, wrote in a letter dated Saturday.

A copy was sent to The Daily Item by Snider, who is being held in the Clinton County Jail awaiting trial on homicide and burglary charges in the July 2010 shooting death of Sudharman, 70, a well-known yoga master also known as Joe Fenton, as he slept in his New Berlin home.

Snider faces the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder.

Williamsport defense attorney Edward “E.J.” Rymsza and William Miele were appointed as his counsel in September 2010 and will stay on despite Snider’s complaints.

“Bill and I remain very dedicated to him and will vigorously defend him,” Rymsza said.

The attorneys are pursuing a mental infirmity defense.

A former yoga student of Sudharman’s from St. Louis, Mo., Snider was quickly identified as the suspected gunman after another yoga instructor from Virginia turned over several emails Snider had sent her outlining his plans to “assassinate” Sudharman.

He has been a prolific letter writer behind bars, frequently complaining about his frustration with his attorneys and referencing past mental problems.

The content of the letters became such a concern that in December, then-Chief Deputy Attorney General Frank Fina asked Hudock for a closed-door court hearing to discuss the issues with Snider to avoid derailing the case.

Since then, Fina resigned from the state office and Senior Deputy Attorney General Anthony Forray has been appointed as prosecutor.

Rymsza said Snider’s latest missive will not lead to any changes.

Snider frequently refers to his mental state in his letters and concluded his recent note to Hudock by saying he’s not interested in having the “story of my life, my successes, failures, friendships and supports, sufferings and good works used as bargaining chips within the U.S. Justice System ... to convince people who do not know me to apply her laws to me in one way or another.”

1
Text Only
News
  • Union rep dazed by talks, says L.M. provoking strike

    A statement by the Line Mountain School District one day after the most recent contract negotiation session has left a Line Mountain Teacher Association representative “flabbergasted” and “insulted.”

    July 11, 2014

  • Safe Havens were born 11 years ago today

    SUNBURY — Northumberland County Coroner Jim Kelley said he will never forget “Baby Mary” and wants people to remember that today marks the 11th anniversary of the enactment of Safe Haven in Pennsylvania.

    July 11, 2014

  • fredtom.jpg Keller: Corbett "childish" in blaming pols for lack of pension fix

    While the Legislature has been unable to shift away from the defined-benefit pension style that is creating a crippling unfunded liability, small rural governments have quietly been adopting pension plans that don’t carry the same risks.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Convicts to Coal Twp. prison: Meet our 22 demands

    The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections is reviewing 22 demands from inmates at the State Correctional Institution at Coal Township that follow a prison imam’s federal lawsuit against the lockup and convicts’ weeklong hunger strike.

    July 11, 2014

  • beattiebrann.jpg Judge slashes Beattie lawyer’s $525 hourly rate 40%

    Legal fees submitted by attorneys representing the parents of girl wrestler Audriana Beattie are duplicative, unnecessary and unreasonable, said a federal judge who Thursday halved the amount the Line Mountain School District must pay.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lewisburg grad 1,600 miles into cross-country adventure

    GARDEN CITY, Kan. — His spirits are high, but his feet are sore, said Norman Horn, who is three months, more than 1,600 miles and more than $15,200 into his adventure of walking across the country to raise money and awareness about pediatric cancer.

    July 10, 2014

  • PPL works to restore power to final 81 Valley customers

    SUNBURY — The severe line of thunderstorms that swept through the Valley — and a number of eastern states — had deadly consequences far beyond loss of electrical power.

    July 10, 2014

  • Defense wants teen tried as juvenile in shooting case involving trooper

    CHAMBERSBURG — A Mifflinburg teen jailed in Franklin County for allegedly shooting at a state trooper is undergoing psychological evaluations as his lawyer looks to have the 16-year-old charged as a juvenile instead of as an adult.

    July 10, 2014

  • crash1.JPG Three-vehicle crash on Route 54 sends three to hospital

    DANVILLE — Witnesses say a Chevrolet Tahoe was briefly airborne after it collided with a pickup truck and before it struck an Eastern Lift Co. van in a three-vehicle crash Thursday afternoon on Route 54 near Liberty Valley Road.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Highlights of the state's new no-tax-hike budget

    Here are highlights of the $29 billion spending package signed by Gov. Tom Corbett for the fiscal year that started July 1.

    July 10, 2014

The Daily Marquee
Video
Parade
Magazine

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.