Trial date postponed for second suspect in Richland murder

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldApril 1, 2014 

The trial date for the second man charged in the July 4 death of Joshua Snapp is in flux because his attorney has another case starting Wednesday in Grant County.

John C.I. Young may face a Benton County Superior Court jury April 11, April 14 or maybe even later in the month.

It all depends on a number of factors, said Judge Bruce Spanner. Some of the issues include defense attorney John Crowley's other trial, the availability of witnesses, the judge's schedule and the ability of the jury clerk to call in jurors on a Friday.

Young's trial had been scheduled to start Monday, but Crowley told the court he has a four- to eight-day trial in Grant County Superior Court.

Crowley, of Seattle, requested a last-minute hearing Tuesday afternoon.

He said he didn't make the request to delay lightly, acknowledging that "a young person was killed and he has parents damaged by this, to say the least."

Snapp, 17, was fatally shot in a remote area of Richland. His family was in court Tuesday.

Young, 19, is charged with first-degree murder with a firearm.

Crowley said he'd received an offer from prosecutors for Young to plead to a lesser charge, but he hadn't been able to discuss it yet with his client.

Co-defendant Joshua H. Hunt was recently sentenced to 23 years and four months in prison for his second-degree murder conviction in the case.

Crowley said the Grant County trial was supposed to be March 5 but was delayed four weeks. It is a child sex case with legal timing issues, so Grant County Judge Evan E. Sperline wouldn't let him get out of it or postpone the trial, he said.

Crowley proposed moving Young's matter to late May so there wouldn't be the potential for this happening again. He assured the court there's nothing on his schedule after mid-May, and said if a conflict arose he would tell that judge that Spanner would not move the Benton County case.

Prosecutor Andy Miller pointed out that Monday's trial was picked as "a certain date," and pointed out that he already has three other murder trials set in May with two of them likely to happen.

Miller said he would defer to the judge as to the conflicts with other courts, but suggested they tentatively set Young's case to start immediately after the Grant County case is finished next week.

"I take Mr. Crowley at his word that a judge in Grant County has ordered that he be in Grant County tomorrow for a trial to start," Spanner said.

The judge said they will set a hearing April 11 to address other issues in Young's case, and be ready for the possibility of starting the trial at the same time.

-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; kkraemer@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer

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