The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
|New judge accepted plea agreement in involuntary manslaughter case|
Monday, October 22, 2012
By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer
A Wirtz teenager will spend at least two years in juvenile penitentiary for involuntary manslaughter in the death of another teenager who was riding in her car on Jan. 23.
Marina Danelle Snyder, 18, pleaded guilty Friday to involuntary manslaughter in the death of Zachary Ian Parsons, 17, of Boones Mill, who was a front-seat passenger in the 2000 Mercury Cougar she was driving when the crash occurred on Route 122. Four others were injured in the crash.
Circuit Court Judge Stacey Moreau accepted a plea agreement, which called for Snyder to plead guilty to the involuntary manslaughter charge, receive a 10-year prison sentence with all the time suspended and be committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).
However, after Judge W.N. Alexander II rejected a similar plea agreement in August, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Patrick Nix used a statute in this agreement that would commit Snyder as a "serious offender." That statute will require the court's approval for her release from the DJJ.
In two years, a mandatory review will be conducted of Snyder's progress, Nix said. Unless the court approves her release at that time, Snyder will remain in the juvenile penitentiary until her 21st birthday in June 2015.
If Snyder had been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in circuit court without the plea agreement, Virginia's sentencing guidelines recommend six months in an adult prison, Nix said.
During a short allocution Friday afternoon, Snyder apologized to Parsons' parents.
"I lost the love of my life," she said. "And Mr. and Mrs. Parsons have suffered the greatest loss of their lives. I am so sorry I was the cause of it."
Moreau told Snyder she demonstrated a "complete disregard for human life when she got behind the wheel that day."
"I'm glad you're not trying to justify your behavior," Moreau added. "There is not justification for it."
Moreau also sentenced Snyder to indefinite adult probation when she is released from juvenile detention and ordered Snyder to speak to young people of the dangers of speeding and reckless driving.
The judge also ordered Snyder to be of good behavior for 10 years and reminded her that the suspended adult sentence is still in play until she completes her sentence in DJJ.
Snyder was committed Friday to the DJJ for a two-month evaluation. Then she will be committed to the proper DJJ program.
The fatal crash occurred just after school on Jan. 23 when the Cougar driven by Snyder was traveling north on Route 122 near Beechdale Road. The car was traveling at a high rate of speed when it entered a curve, according to Trooper R.A. Howington with the Virginia State Police. Snyder lost control of the car, which crossed the center lane and struck two southbound vehicles -- a 2008 Toyota Scion, driven by Jason Beavers, 28, of Collinsville and a 2004 Dodge Dakota pickup, driven by Jonathan Hall, 26, of Glade Hill.
After the Cougar struck the two vehicles, it ran off the left side of the roadway and struck a building and two parked cars that were unoccupied, Howington said.
Beavers was not injured, but Hall was transported to the hospital, Howington said. Snyder and two 17-year-old males in the back seat of the Cougar were also transported to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
Three civil lawsuits have been filed against Snyder in connection with the crash.
Gregory Kinsey has filed a $2.5 million lawsuit on behalf of his son, Anthony Cole Kinsey, 17, who was a back-seat passenger in the car driven by Snyder. Kinsey sustained a traumatic brain injury, along with multiple facial bone fractures, fractures to both legs and lacerations to his spleen and liver, according to Will Davis, Kinsey's attorney.
The estate of Zachary Parsons filed a $2.5 million lawsuit against Snyder in February.
Jonathan Hall also filed a $500,000 lawsuit in February against Snyder. The lawsuit alleges that Snyder "operated her vehicle in the plaintiff's lane of travel," striking his pickup "with great force and violence."