A Goshen County jury deliberated for only one hour Thursday before returning a verdict of guilty against a Fort Laramie, Wyoming, man charged with murder.
The jury convicted Jamie Snyder, 28, on a charge of first-degree murder in the May 24, 2018, stabbing death of 32-year-old Wade Erschabek, of Guernsey.
After Eighth Judicial District Judge Patrick Korell read the verdict, defense attorney Jonathan Foreman wanted a poll taken and all jurors said yes, they agreed with the verdict.
Korell remanded Snyder into the custody of the Goshen County Detention Center. Snyder will have a sentencing review, which he will participate in and then after 60 days, sentencing will take place.
As the jurors left the room, Snyder said, “Thank you.”
Some testimony had been heard Thursday. During the fourth day of testimony defense had asked several mental health practitioners to testify on Snyder’s mental health, as they had dealt with him in the past and getting their take on his issues. In testimony Wednesday, a mental health practitioner testified that Snyder had been diagnosed with antisocial behavior disorder and a previous doctor had diagnosed him with paranoid schizophrenia.
Snyder took the stand in his own defense. During questioning of Snyder, Foreman asked the man if he was right or left-handed, to which Snyder replied “Right.” Foreman asked him if he were to hold a hammer, or knife, would he be holding it in his left hand? Snyder said he would not.
Foreman called Goshen County Sheriff's Deputy Edwin Ochoa to the stand and went over the what happened the night Snyder was arrested, asking if he was acting weird and saying odd things. Ochoa said he had been.
During closing arguments, Goshen County Attorney Eric Boyer told the jury that Snyder knew the difference between right and wrong, his clothes were found near the fort and he had seen a UPS driver and decided to go to a different spot from where he was so no one would see him get rid of his clothes. He was nervous about driving home in just his underwear, because then if he got pulled over, officers would know what he did.
Boyer went on to say officers found the knife sheath with the clothing that he gotten rid of. Snyder had told authorities he had gotten rid of his clothing because he went mudding and got stuck, having to dig himself out. He said he had gotten all muddy, got mad and left his clothes, sheath and his favorite boots in the ditch. However, the boots didn’t have mud on them, as shown in photographs introduced at trial.
Foreman told the jury that Snyder has had many years of mental illness and that because Dr. Kathryn Mahaffey didn’t like him, she had not given the man the correct diagnosis.
“Because she didn’t want to deal with him,” she came up with a diagnosis of antisocial behavior disorder to make Snyder stand trial for first-degree murder.
Before being escorted from the courtroom, Snyder asked the judge if he could talk to his mom before he was taken back to the detention center, , which officers allowed. Snyder hugged his mom and cried, saying he was going to jail for life.