A mother accused of killing her two young children in the basement of their home will face trial after a judge rejected a plea agreement following claims she had sex with the family dog.
Lisa Snyder is charged with first-degree murder, child endangerment and evidence tampering in relation to the deaths of four-year-old Brinley and eight-year-old Conner in September 2019. The youngsters were found hanging from a dog leash inside their home in Albany Township, Pennsylvania.
They died after their life support was switched off three days later. Snyder was initially accused of having sex with the family dog, a pit bull, before the killings took place. These claims are no longer part of the investigation.
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Snyder, 40, sought to plead no contest but mentally ill to two counts of third-degree murder at a hearing on Friday (November 17). Berks County President Judge Theresa Johnson rejected the plea, however.
"I am not accepting that plea agreement," the judge said. "It doesn't serve the interests of justice."
The decision means Snyder's case will now go to trial. District Attorney John Adams did not reveal why prosecutors agreed to let Snyder plead no contest. Speaking after the hearing, he said: "We don't contest the fact that she's mentally ill, and she meets the threshold set up under the law that she is mentally ill."
Snyder didn't respond to the judge's decision and her defence team remained silent after the hearing. The court had previously heard that Snyder called the police around 4.30pm, telling them she found her children unresponsive in the basement.
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Emergency services arrived within 11 minutes and discovered the children hanging three feet apart, according to prosecutors. The kids were in cardiac arrest but were revived, only to pass away in hospital three days later.
Snyder told the police that her son was being bullied and had threatened to take his own life before. However, prosecutors argued that Conner was "incapable of doing this to himself". "He was incapable of doing this to his sister," they added.
Detectives revealed that Snyder allegedly searched online for information about suicide, death by hanging and how to kill someone before the tragic incident. She also confessed to buying a dog lead on the day her children were found hanging from either end of it, authorities said.
The deaths of the children were ruled as homicides by a coroner. When charged, Snyder's defence team claimed that she had a "chronic history of severe mental disorders".
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