Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Who says you can't get a conviction with only circumstantial evidence?

I was watching TruTV (goodness I hate that new name) last night and specifically this episode. It details the murder of Melvin Snyder by Ronald Harshman.

The case was really very interesting, but as always an unhappy one. A murder one conviction would eventually be handed down even if there was no body, nor a weapon.

On May 25, 1985 Melvin Snyder, 42, disappeared from his Greencastle, Pennsylvania home, never to be seen again. The previous year, it was a well known fact that Mr. Snyder was having an affair with a Mrs. Ronald Harshman. Not surprisingly, Mr. Harshman was not very happy about it and struggled to come to terms with the infidelity of his wife.

There was one known incident where Mr. Harshman fired a firearm at Mr. Snyder, but as the authorities put it, Mr. Snyder was a bit embarrassed about the entire situation and did not wish to press charges.

After Mr. Snyder's disappearance, the authorities only found a few shell casings at, what they believed was, the murder scene, and his abandoned truck at a shopping center. I believe they said the truck was found about sixty miles away from his home.

They knew the casings were of a certain caliber, a caliber which matched that of a new gun purchased by Mr. Harshman, that was never found. Mr. Harshman conveniently "lost" it.

After that, the case went cold... and fifteen years passed...

Eventually authorities asked a local civil War hobbyist to use his metal detector to find shell casings at Mr. Harshman's home. I believe this was in response to the theory that if Mr. Harshman bought a new gun, surely he would have test fired it?

The hobbyist was interviewed on the show and he said within the first five minutes, he found it which was an amazing feat since Mr. Harshman owned something like 10+ acres of land!

They sent the casings to ballistics and to their delight, the casings were a match. They went to trial and here's the kicker. There was no body ever found and no weapon either.

Guess what though? They not only got a conviction, but a murder one conviction.

Very, VERY cool! That's the way it should be. The way our country has relied on litigation for justice is disgusting. The founding father's never imagined such treachery.

No comments: