|New judge accepted plea agreement in involuntary manslaughter case|
Friday, October 19, 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.