Judge Kimberley S. White imposed a jury’s verdict Friday in Halifax County Circuit Court that sentenced Journy Lee Snead to 20 years in prison for the first-degree murder of his grandfather, 75-year-old Floyd Leslie Crider last July 19.
White also imposed the jury’s verdict that sentenced Snead to two years in prison for one count of child cruelty, but not before an argument from Snead’s attorney, John E. Greenbacker Jr., who presented a motion to set aside the defendant’s convictions for premeditated murder and child cruelty, dismiss the child cruelty charge and grant Snead a new trial on the charge of murder only.
A 12-person jury equally comprised of men and women deliberated for a little less than three hours on March 29 after a three-day trial before finding Snead guilty of first degree murder in the death of Crider.
The jury recommended that Snead, a 32-year-old Halifax resident, serve 20 years in prison for the murder of Crider, which occurred at the home of Crider located on Sweeney Trail on July 19.
Jurors also convicted Snead of one count of child cruelty in connection with the incident and recommended a sentence of two years for that charge.
At the core of the argument presented Friday by Greenbacker were statements made by Snead’s daughter during a forensic examination several weeks before the trial that indicate she was in the house at the time of her great grandfather’s murder, not later as the defense contended.
White had earlier ruled that the closed circuit testimony of Snead’s 4-year-old daughter had not established the child’s credibility for entering her statements into evidence but later reversed that decision and allowed the admission of her statements, which Greenbacker argued were heresay.
The statements made by Snead’s daughter were central to prosecution evidence indicating that she witnessed the murder of her great-grandfather, and White ruled Friday that a section of the statute under which Snead was charged for child cruelty was not “unconstitutionally vague,” as Greenbacker contended.
White also found that the defendant was not denied his right to due process and to confront his accuser, telling the court that evidence indicated that the child was available for cross examination.
White denied Greenbacker’s motion to set aside the convictions and grant a new trial.
“I wasn’t there and didn’t do it,” said the defendant, when given a chance to address the court.
“Everything they (commonwealth) put on proved I wasn’t there and didn’t do it. My daughter clearly wasn’t there and didn’t see.”
“We had a very attentive jury that listened to the evidence,” White told Snead before affirming the jury’s verdict.
“This murder was extremely heinous. To expose your daughter to such violence can’t be forgiven,” said White.
White noted Greenbacker’s objection to her ruling and his plans to appeal the child cruelty conviction.
Other court cases
• Kade Quentin Conner, 27, of Scottsburg pleaded guilty Friday to two felony charges for distribution of methamphetamine and one felony charge for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
Pursuant to a plea agreement with the commonwealth, a charge against the defendant for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine was nol prossed.
Sentencing for Conner was continued to a date in the September court term.
• Moses Jabaari Hendren, 19, of South Boston was convicted Friday of a felony for receiving a stolen firearm or aiding in the concealment of a firearm, and a misdemeanor for carrying a concealed weapon.
Sentencing for Hendren was continued to a future court date.
• Tiearra Myesha Hill, 22, of South Boston was convicted Thursday of a felony charge for illegally obtaining a credit card.
White sentenced Hill to a five-year suspended prison sentence, conditioned on Hill’s good behavior for 10 years and ordered her to be placed on probation for 18 months.
Additionally, White ordered Hill to undergo a drug and mental health assessment and ordered her to pay court costs in full within two years.
• Brenda Gail Chappell, 46, of Scottsburg pleaded guilty Thursday to a felony charge for possession of a controlled substance, and misdemeanor charges for possession of a controlled substance and petty larceny.
White sentenced Chappell to a five-year suspended term for the felony and a 10-month suspended jail term for the misdemeanor possession charge, and she also sentenced Chappell to five years in jail for enhanced petty larceny, with all but 10 months suspended, ordering Chappell to receive credit for the time awaiting sentencing on the enhanced petty larceny charge.
White ordered Chappell to be released on a $500 bond for the enhanced petty larceny charge and stayed imposition of Chappell’s sentence to her being assessed for entry in the Drug Court program.
In addition, White ordered Chappell to be placed on probation for two years, abstain from illegal drugs and alcohol, and submit to random drug searches.
• Nathan Edmund Coleman, 68, of Scottsburg was convicted Thursday of a felony charge for enhanced petty larceny.
Sentencing for Coleman was continued to a date in the July court term.
• Anthony Paul Ali Jr., 24, of Danville was sentenced Thursday to seven years in prison each for three methamphetamine distribution convictions.
White suspended all but an effective 12 months in jail for one of the convictions, with all suspended time conditioned on Ali’s good behavior for 20 years, and she ordered him placed on probation for three years upon his release.
In addition, White ordered Ali to complete the Community Corrections Alternative Program, pay $455 restitution at a rate of $50 a month beginning 60 days from his release and ordered his operator’s license suspended for 18 months.
Ali also was convicted Thursday of a violation of his good behavior provisions as ordered by the court, with White revoking Ali’s previously suspended prison time for that conviction but re-suspending all time.
White ordered Ali be placed on probation an additional three years for that offense.
• Tyrik Tavon Harris, 26, of Halifax was convicted Thursday of the unlawful wounding of Michael Scott Palmer.
Sentencing for Harris was continued to a date in the August court term.
• Michael Paul Burhop, 39, of Halifax had his previously suspended prison term revoked on Friday for a violation of his conditions of probation as ordered by the court.
White re-suspended all but 30 days in jail, extending Burhop’s probationary period for 12 months.
• Stevie Thomas Taylor, 30, of Durham, North Carolina was convicted Thursday of a probation violation.
White continued the case for six months until a date in the December court term and extended Taylor’s probationary period for that length of time.
• Lindsey Dale Singleton, 34, of Halifax was sentenced Friday to serve six months in jail, with credit for time served, for a probation violation.