Big Rapids man pleads guilty but mentally ill in assault against police officers

PLEA ENTRY: Wesley Snyder is spoken to by his attorney Dennis DuVall before entering a plea on Wednesday in Mecosta County's 49th Circuit Court. Snyder pleaded guilty but mentally ill to two counts of assault with intent to commit murder. (Pioneer photo/Emily Grove-Davis)

PLEA ENTRY: Wesley Snyder is spoken to by his attorney Dennis DuVall before entering a plea on Wednesday in Mecosta County’s 49th Circuit Court. Snyder pleaded guilty but mentally ill to two counts of assault with intent to commit murder. (Pioneer photo/Emily Grove-Davis)

BIG RAPIDS  — A Big Rapids man who shot an arrow at police officers last year entered a plea in his case on Wednesday in Mecosta County’s 49th Circuit Court.

Wesley Thomas Snyder, 28, was arrested in January 2015 and charged with two counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault with intent to commit murder, two counts of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, two counts assault with a dangerous weapon, one count of carrying a dangerous weapon with unlawful intent, one count of assaulting/resisting/obstructing an officer causing injury and two counts of assaulting/resisting/obstructing a police officer.

As part of an agreement with the Mecosta County Prosecutor’s Office, Snyder agreed to plead guilty but mentally ill to the two counts of assault with intent to commit murder. In exchange for his plea, the 10 additional felony charges will be dismissed.

While Snyder was found competent to stand trial at a hearing on June 22, 2015, Snyder’s lawyer Dennis DuVall cited a report from Dr. David Boersma which contained findings showing Snyder was mentally ill at the time of the incident, thus allowing the court to accept the guilty but mentally ill pleas.

On Jan. 16, 2015, Snyder got into an altercation with two Big Rapids Department of Public Safety police officers at Appleridge Apartments. The officers were following up on a report of an assault at the apartment complex.

When the officers attempted to make contact with Snyder, he shot at them with a bow and arrow. He then charged at an officer, resulting in a struggle and Snyder and an officer tumbling down a flight of stairs .

After the two reached the bottom of the stairs, the second officer tased Snyder multiple times, subduing him and allowing the officers to arrest him.

Before accepting the plea, Judge Kimberly Booher noted she had read the report from Dr. Boersma which indicated, specifically, “it would not be unreasonable to conclude from the available information and in my opinion that Mr. Snyder was mentally ill at or around the time in question in this case.” Therefore, Booher ruled the guilty but mentally ill pleas were acceptable.

The assault with intent to commit murder charges carry maximum penalties of life in prison. The plea agreement also contained an agreed upon sentence of Snyder serving a minimum of 12 years in prison with the Michigan Department of Corrections. The maximum sentence is to be determined by the court at sentencing.

If the judge chooses not to follow the agreed upon sentence, Snyder must be informed and will be able to withdraw his plea.

A court date for sentencing has not yet been set in Snyder’s case.

 

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Posted by Emily Grove

Emily is the Pioneer and Herald Review crime and court reporter, covering crime in both Mecosta and Osceola counties. She can be reached by e-mail at emily@pioneergroup.com or by phone at (231) 592-8362.

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