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Man sentenced to life without parole for 2014 murder

Man sentenced to life without parole for 2014 murder
Lester Aaron Snyder (HANDOUT)

A Baltimore County man convicted of a shooting a man to death in Gamber a year ago was sentenced Monday to life without the possibility of parole.

Lester Aaron Snyder, 27, of the 3000 block of Rockdale Court in Windsor Mill, was convicted on nine counts including first-degree murder by a jury Aug. 25 in Carroll County Circuit Court, in connection with the Oct. 4, 2014, shooting death of Luis Javier Pol, 23, of the Bronx, New York.

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The sentence was imposed Monday by Judge Michael M. Galloway. Life without parole is the maximum sentence in Maryland.

It was the sentence prosecutors had asked for, according to Carroll County State's Attorney Brian DeLeonardo.

"We felt from the beginning that given the facts, the way the homicide happened, that [Snyder] was a such a danger to the public that he should basically never be eligible to be released again," DeLeonardo said.

At the trial in August, prosecutors argued Snyder shot Pol several times after dropping him off in an area near the intersection of Md. 32 and East Nicodemus Road in Gamber, a crime motivated by a $2,000 drug debt.

"It really was a very cold, calculated execution, which is very different than situations where sometimes someone has a crime of passion, or lost their head momentarily … It's about as bad as you can get when it comes to murdering someone," DeLeonardo said. "That's why we pursued the sentence we did, so we certainly are happy that he is not in the position to do that anymore."

Snyder was also convicted in August of felony murder, robbery with a deadly weapon, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, second-degree murder, second-degree assault, theft under $1,000, and use of a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence.

DeLeonado said he hopes Snyder's sentence will send a message to other people or organizations looking to Carroll County as a potential place to conduct drug business and commit acts of violence.

"As you can see from the facts, we have someone from a drug organization from Baltimore County that ultimately killed someone that was selling drugs from New York," he said. "That's the kind of situation that is just not acceptable; we can't have outside organizations thinking that it's free game to come in and sell drugs and bring that kind of violence to … our streets."

Snyder has already filed an appeal, according to his attorney during the trial, Samuel Nalli. Nalli, however, was a panel attorney — a private attorney hired by the Office of the Public Defender to represent Snyder — and no longer represents Snyder since the conclusion of Monday's sentencing.

Snyder's appeal will be handled by the Public Defender's Appellate Division, based in Baltimore City, a process that could take months due to the transcripts and paperwork involved, according to Judson Larrimore, supervising attorney at the Carroll County Office of the Public Defender.

"Any time you are talking about a sentence that is lengthy, it is certainly not uncommon that people are going to explore their appellate rights," DeLeonardo said. "We are very comfortable that Mr. Snyder received a very fair trial and the juror members had no difficulty finding that he was guilty."

In the meantime, Snyder's live-in girlfriend at the time of the murder, Meghan Goforth, 26, of Windsor Mill, is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 20. Goforth pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy to commit robbery and accessory after the fact. Goforth testified against Snyder at his trial and the state had declined to prosecute other charges that had been filed against her, which had included second-degree murder, manslaughter and armed robbery.

Beginning Oct. 13, Snyder is due to stand trial on a charge of possession of narcotics with the intent to distribute stemming from a March 2014 incident at the Boston Inn in Westminster. That case had been postponed pending the outcome of Snyder's murder trial, according to DeLeonardo.

"I pointed out to the court ... that this offense was committed while he was out on bond for that offense he is being tried for next week," DeLeonardo said. "The fact that while under court supervision he has been uncompliant — it really showed why, even from a rehabilitation standpoint, I thought I that he was not a good candidate to ever be released again."

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