Trial of former Neches ISD principal ends with not guilty verdict
PALESTINE, Texas (KLTV) - The trial of a former Neches ISD principal has ended with a not guilty verdict.
Kimberlyn Ann Snider had faced charges of official oppression and tampering with evidence related to a sexual assault investigation. Friday, the jury handed down a not guilty verdict.
Before the verdict and deliberations, the state and defense gave their closing arguments.
The state began by claiming Snider interfered with an investigation and that she knew there was an alleged sexual assault. The attorney reiterated that Snider confronted one of the girls over her statement differing from that of the others, after asking the other four girls to exit separately so the one who was singled out would not see.
The state asked, “Why was it so important? It wasn’t.” But, the attorney said the power held by future administrators must be considered.
The defense then argued that Snider did not tamper with or fabricate any evidence, didn’t commit official oppression, and should be innocent until proven guilty. The attorney said the state hasn’t provided enough evidence to prove that she is guilty, and the jury need only have a reasonable doubt.
Snider took statements that the girls gave her, told them to stop gossiping, and put the statements in a desk drawner, the defense said, claiming her motive was to do her job at Neches ISD. The attorney said Snider knew she had to look into the issue or inform Neches ISD High School Principal Trent Cook but considered it to be nothing more than girls gossiping. The defense argued that what the girls wrote is true, and that if Cook had been there that day he would have handled it in the same way. If Snider had feelings against the girls, she would have let them continue gossiping, the attorney said, adding that she didn’t unlawfully detain the girls.
The state then showed body cam footage from Anderson County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Tabitha Frawner in an effort to prove Snider’s motive, claiming it shows Snider dislikes one of the students. The attorney argued Snider is friends with the alleged perpetrator and was trying to protect him by attempting to tamper with and fabricate evidence, unlawfully using her authority over the girls. The state said neither the victim nor alleged perpetrator attend Neches ISD, so Snider’s involvement was unnecessary.
The court then recessed.
The jury began deliberating at 1:40 p.m.
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