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Pennsylvania mom who axed her husband in front of kids claims wounds didn’t cause his death

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Matt Miller

pennlive.com

A Pennsylvania woman who attacked her husband with an axe in front of their three children will keep serving a 20- to 40-year prison sentence for his murder.

A state Superior Court panel ensured that by denying an appeal in which Melanie Sue Snyder claimed there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that she actually caused the death of her 41-year-old husband Thomas.

Remarkably, Thomas Snyder didn’t die immediately when his wife hacked him on the neck with that axe at least three times at their Armstrong County home in July 2017. Instead, he died six months later from pneumonia that investigators said was a complication from the grievous wounds his wife inflicted.

Melanie Snyder, now 44, pleaded guilty to third-degree murder in 2019. At her sentencing hearing she told the county judge that she got the axe from a shed and attacked her husband with it because she was mad at him, Judge Judith Ference Olson noted in the Superior Court’s opinion denying her appeal.

Yet in that appeal Melania Snyder challenged the prosecution’s assertion that the wounds she caused led directly to her husband’s belated death.

Olson found that claim is undermined by Melanie Snyder’s own admission when she pleaded guilty that the evidence would have been sufficient to convict her of murder if her case went to trial and her admission that she knew hitting someone repeatedly on the with an axe was likely to cause death or serious injury.

Melanie Snyder, now 44, pleaded guilty to third-degree murder in 2019. At her sentencing hearing she told the county judge that she got the axe from a shed and attacked her husband with it because she was mad at him, Judge Judith Ference Olson noted in the Superior Court’s opinion denying her appeal.

Yet in that appeal Melania Snyder challenged the prosecution’s assertion that the wounds she caused led directly to her husband’s belated death.

Olson found that claim is undermined by Melanie Snyder’s own admission when she pleaded guilty that the evidence would have been sufficient to convict her of murder if her case went to trial and her admission that she knew hitting someone repeatedly on the with an axe was likely to cause death or serious injury.

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