Stage set for first degree murder trial

TORRINGTON – Jamie Snyder, who is facing life in prison on a single count of murder in the first degree, is set to have his day in court.

Both the prosecution, led by Deputy Goshen County Attorney Jeremiah Sandburg, and defense, led by Johnathon Foreman, came to terms on jury instructions during Snyder’s pre-trial conference Jan. 13 in the Eighth Judicial District Court, which should be Snyder’s final appearance before his trial, set for 9 a.m. Feb. 10. During the conference, both sides confirmed the trial should take five days. 

Snyder appeared in a Goshen County Detention Center-issued prisoner uniform with orange and white stripes. He wore a beard and his hair was slicked back. 

Sandburg told Judge Patrick Korell that he expected the prosecution to prove its burden over three-and-a-half days, while Foreman said he would fill the rest of the time pleading the defendant’s case. 

Snyder remained silent during the majority of the conference, and only spoke while the attorneys were discussing lesser charges for the jury to consider should it find the actions that resulted in the stabbing death of Wade Erschabeck in May 2018 did not meet the legal criteria for murder in the first degree. Snyder has maintained throughout the proceedings that he acted in self-defense, and the jury may also consider murder in the second degree, as well as voluntary manslaughter, in rendering its finding. 

“You’ve got two cops saying they did a legal search,” Snyder said. “Me and Wade were friends for 10 years, that’s weird too. This is ridiculous.”

Snyder seemed to be speaking about a pair of motions filed by Foreman that were denied earlier this month. The first was to allow Foreman to discuss the defendant’s fate should he be found not guilty by reason of mental illness. 

The second motion was to suppress Snyder’s interview with Goshen County Sheriff’s Office investigators hours after the stabbing on the grounds that Snyder’s mental illnesses resulted in a coerced confession. Korell ruled the interrogation had been entirely legal. 

During the conference, Sandburg told the court that he and Goshen County Attorney Eric Boyer would be working together to present the prosecution’s case. 

“Both of us will be trying the case,” he said. “We’re still deciding how to split it up. In a case of this nature, it is prudent to have both of us here. We will tag-team it.”

Foreman informed the court that he would be introducing evidence that Erschabeck was under the influence of marijuana at the time of his death, including the autopsy report and information from a forensic examiner. 

“Mr. Erschabeck was clearly under the influence at the time of his death,” Foreman said.

“It may have governed actions engaged in at the time of his death.”


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