Mistrial declared in Deonte Snowden murder trial

The judge in the Deonte D. Snowden murder trial declared a mistrial Thursday morning after the foreman said the jury was struggling with the definition of “reasonable doubt.”

Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Gregory Singer told the foreman the court had provided an exhaustive definition.

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“There’s not much more that we can give you on that,” Singer said. “The court finds at this time that the jury is not able to reach a verdict. I want to declare a mistrial.”

Snowden, 36, faces two counts of murder, two counts of felonious assault and one count of having weapons under disability related to the June 6, 2016 shooting death of William Sarver, 57.

“There’s some jurors, apparently, that could find beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Snowden committed the crime,” defense attorney Anthony VanNoy said. “I’m very happy that they heard our side. They went back and listened to witnesses’ testimony and they re-evaluated the evidence.”

The trial began Monday morning and wrapped up late Tuesday afternoon.

After about an hour of deliberations on Tuesday, the jury spend all day Wednesday deliberating, despite Singer’s “firecracker charge” late Wednesday morning asking the foreman if he thought a verdict was possible.

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The foreman said yes then, but said the opposite on Thursday.

“Mr. Snowden has denied culpability throughout and has maintained his innocence despite the actions suggesting guilt by running,” VanNoy said. “He was very pleased. He wished that they had all acquitted him, but he was pleased that he was not found guilty.”

The U.S. Marshals tracked Snowden down in Arizona in October 2016 for a killing which prosecutors allege he committed in front of a grandmother and three of her grandchildren.

VanNoy said 10 people ran from the scene and that didn’t indicate guilt. Immediately after the judge declared a mistrial, Montgomery County assistant prosecutor John Amos asked the judge for a scheduling date to put the case back on the docket for a re-trial.

“That’s within their prerogative,” VanNoy said. “They have the option to do that. But if somebody believes he didn’t do it, maybe others will believe he didn’t do it.”

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