Update: Richland teens reportedly took turns fatally shooting 17-year-old

July 5, 2013 

— Two Richland teens suspected of killing a 17-year-old boy Thursday took turns shooting him in the head and chest, court documents said.

Joshua H. Hunt, 19, shot Josh Snapp with a revolver multiple times, including in the chest, documents said. Hunt then handed the gun to John C. Young, 18, who shot Snapp in the head.

Both teens appeared separately Friday in Benton County Superior Court in Kennewick.

Benton County Superior Court Judge Robert Swisher found probable cause to hold Hunt and Young in custody. They have not been formally charged and are on a 72-hour investigative hold.

Swisher set both teens’ bail at $250,000, and they are scheduled to return to court Wednesday.

Snapp was shot a total of three times, said Richland police Sgt. Kevin Berger.

Any one of the bullets could have been fatal, said Benton County Coroner John Hansens.

An autopsy performed Friday showed Snapp had no other injuries related to the shooting. Hansens placed his time of death around 7 a.m.

Bullets were recovered under Snapp’s body, leading investigators to believe his body was not moved after he was shot, Hansens said.

Hunt and Young were arrested in Benton City shortly after Snapp was killed in a remote desert area off of Beardsley Road in Richland.

Neither Hunt nor Young spoke much during their brief hearings. Each teen was appointed a public defender and advised of his rights before being led from the courtroom in shackles.

Hunt and Young reportedly lured Snapp to the desert to smoke marijuana after a party in Richland all three had attended, documents said.

All three teens have known one another for several years and shared some of the same friends, Berger said.

During the party, the suspects sat in Hunt's car and Young showed Hunt how to use his five-shot revolver, documents said. While they were in the car, Young said Hunt told him that he hates Snapp “so much I could kill him.”

The three teens left the party in Hunt’s car with other people and may have dropped friends off before heading toward Beardsley Road, Berger said. Police still are trying to determine who they left the party with.

After smoking marijuana, the suspects confronted Snapp about a drug debt he apparently owed Hunt, documents said. They accused Snapp of being an informant and Hunt pulled out the gun and shot him.

The teens took Snapp to the desert with the intention of never letting him leave alive, Berger said.

“Clearly they set him up to murder him,” he said.

The suspects then left Snapp’s body in the brush and drove away, documents said. They changed their shoes because they realized they left footprints at the scene.

The suspects put the revolver and their shoes into a backpack and Hunt threw it in the Yakima River, documents said.

Police have not recovered the backpack, Berger said. A dive team searched the river Friday.

Hunt and Young drove to a Benton City gas station, where Young reportedly told the clerk about the shooting, Berger said. The clerk called 911 and both suspects were arrested by Benton County sheriff’s deputies a short time later.

It is unclear why Young told the clerk about the shooting or what Hunt was doing while Young spoke to the clerk, Berger said.

Police have no clear motive for the killing, though it looks as if “they were arguing over something and it appears to be money,” Berger said.

Young has prior convictions for delivery of a controlled substance in 2011 and residential burglary in 2012, court documents show.

Young and another teen took jewelry from an acquaintance’s mom’s house in Richland, documents said. The acquaintance — who acted as a lookout during the burglary — told Young and the teen about the jewelry to “settle a debt.”

There are no records of Hunt having any felony cases filed in Superior Court. Friday night, more than 600 people had liked a Facebook page dedicated to remembering Snapp called “R.I.P Josh Snapp We Miss You Man.”

Friends wrote positive messages and called for justice.

“I wish I could go back in time and find a way to make this not happen,” wrote a woman who Snapp called his girlfriend. “I just want to hold him one more time and kiss him and tell him I love him over and over for every time I didn't get to.”

On his own Facebook page, Snapp conveyed his desire to change his life in a rap he wrote and posted two days before he was killed.

“I’m stressin’, feelin like life’s not a blessin. With all life’s tests and no answers to its questions,” Snapp wrote. “All this stress I wanna relieve and all this tension. I’m startin to regret each an every decision I made.”

w Tyler Richardson: 582-1556; trichardson@tricityherald.com: Twitter; @Ty_richardson焛

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