Berks County President Judge Theresa Johnson has refused a plea agreement for Lisa Snyder, charged with the 2019 murder of her two children in Albany Township, Pennsylvania. Snyder, 40, sought to enter a no contest but mentally ill plea to third-degree murder charges for the deaths of her 4-year-old daughter Brinley and 8-year-old son Conner. The children, found hanging in their home’s basement, died three days after being taken off life support.
The abrupt rejection of the plea by Judge Johnson, who stated it did not serve justice, has propelled the case towards trial. Snyder now faces first-degree murder, child endangerment, and evidence tampering charges. The decision was made swiftly, with the judge dismissing the proceedings after only a few minutes.
District Attorney John Adams refrained from explaining why the prosecution had initially agreed to the reduced charge plea, which would have carried a 20 to 40-year prison sentence. He acknowledged Snyder’s mental illness but maintained the legal threshold for mental illness was met.
The case raised immediate suspicions, with authorities doubting Snyder’s claims of her son’s bullying and suicidal threats. Investigations revealed Snyder’s internet searches about suicide methods and purchases of materials used in the children’s deaths. Both deaths were ruled homicides by hanging.
Adams, addressing reporters, highlighted the incomprehensible nature of the crime. Snyder’s defense, citing severe mental disorders, had planned an insanity defense. The prosecution previously indicated plans to seek the death penalty. Snyder, who remained unresponsive to the court’s decision and media inquiries, will now prepare for the upcoming trial.