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Trial date set in long-running case

9/10/2013

By MIKE CORN

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

The Hays man charged with sex crimes involving a child wasn't willing to waive his right to have District Judge Ed Bouker read each of the 14 charges pending against him.

So District Judge Ed Bouker read each of the 14 counts pending against Clinton E. Snavely, a highly unusual task that lasted nearly 10 minutes.

"The defendant wishes to stand mute on all the charges," defense attorney John Herman said after rising up from his chair, when Bouker asked how Snavely planned to plead to the charges. As a result, Bouker entered a plea of not guilty to the charges.

Snavely and his wife, Beverly, both were arrested and charged in October 2011 with a series of offenses involving sex with a child.

Just last week, Beverly Snavely was sentenced to 32 months in prison under the terms of a plea agreement that allowed her to plead no contest to charges of attempted aggravated indecent liberties with a child and aggravated indecent solicitation of a child.

If she follows all the rules in prison, Beverly Snavely could be released from prison as early as Jan. 12, but she then faces four years of post-release supervision. That's twice the normal amount, something arranged as part of the plea agreement.

Clinton Snavely, 49, his curly hair now extending past his shoulders, faces 14 criminal counts involving the same child. The charges are two counts of rape, eight counts of aggravated criminal sodomy, two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child and single counts of criminal sodomy and indecent liberties with a child.

The charges allege the abuse started in 2002 and continued through 2011, from the time the girl was 6 years old until she was almost 16.

Both Beverly and Clinton Snavely have undergone four competency evaluations, three of which found they were competent to stand trial. As a result, Bouker ruled they both were able to stand trial, and started setting hearings in the nearly two-year-old case.

Bouker set out a couple possibilities for a trial date before he and attorneys settled on a three-day trial starting Dec. 3.

Defense attorney Herman sought and received permission to start the process moving to obtain a copy of the transcript of Snavely's preliminary hearing.

That request was part of a bigger set of motions filed by Herman and co-counsel Alex Herman.

The Hermans are seeking to push ahead with a request initially made at Snavely's preliminary hearing.

At that hearing, John Herman asked Bouker to dismiss nine of the then-11 charges pending against Snavely, arguing the statute of limitations had expired.

Now, Herman also is asking to have Bouker withdraw permission allowing Ellis County Attorney Tom Drees to add three additional charges that surfaced during the hearing, based on testimony from the victim.

Bouker set a series of deadlines for legal briefs to be filed, as well as responses. The motions will be argued prior to the start of the trial.