The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 15, 2013

W.Va. man convicted of felony child abuse

The Associated Press

MARTINSBURG — A Bunker Hill man charged with abusing five children in 2009 has been convicted of four felony counts of child abuse causing injury. He was acquitted on eight similar counts.

A Berkeley County jury rendered split verdicts Wednesday for both 29-year-old Nathan Snyder and 43-year-old Christina Snyder.

She was convicted of misdemeanor domestic battery for punching one child in the stomach but acquitted of felony child abuse charges.

The victims were an 8-year-old girl, a 12-year-old boy and two 14-year-old boys. The Snyders were accused of burning the children with cigarettes, shooting them with bottle rockets and BB guns, beating them with a riding crop and a metal spoon, and other abuses.

Christina Snyder faces up to 12 months in jail at her April 11 sentencing.

Nathan Snyder faces one to five years in prison on each count, but no sentencing date has been set.

“I can’t believe the jury found him guilty of anything based on the evidence I heard,” said his attorney, Thomas Stanley. “I am just totally shocked by the verdict, and I’m sure there will be an appeal.”

Prosecutor Pamela Games-Neely said the children endured “hell on earth” but the verdict was fair, given that three years have passed.

“That’s a long time to reach back and try to remember what you did, who was there and all those kinds of things, and that makes it far more difficult,” she said. “We did not expect that we would win them all, and we did not.”

She’s now seeking to have Nathan Snyder declared a recidivist, or repeat offender, at an April 23 trial. He has two previous felony convictions for third-offense driving under the influence from 2006 and 2003.

If declared a recidivist, Snyder could get life in prison.