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Monday, May 2, 2016

Case that inspired 'Zachary's Law' gets new court hearing

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter has refiled a request for the death penalty against Christopher Stevens for the 1993 molestation and murder of 10-year-old Zachary Snider.

The 1995 molestation and murder of the Cloverdale boy drew national attention, prompting the creation of Zachary's Law, which requires convicted child molesters to register their address in a public database.

The case was tried in a Tippecanoe County Court after the case was moved from Putnam County to Tippecanoe County.

The jury voted in favor of the death penalty in 1994. The death penalty had been upheld at all appellate stages until this past summer, when the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals set aside the death penalty convictions for the reasons that his court-appointed lawyers were deemed ineffective.

"The Indiana Attorney General is presently considering appealing this recent decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, but that decision does not stay the order that gives me 120 days to ask again for the death penalty," Prosecutor Bookwalter said.

"I have, over the last three months, reassembled the file and reviewed the record and the evidence. I have also discussed the case with the prosecutors who tried the case for the first time, retired Det. Dick Rice of the Indiana State Police, who was the detective who handled the case, and most importantly, Todd and Sandy Snider, Zachary's parents.

After my review of the evidence, and input from these persons, I have decided to refile the request for the death penalty," Bookwalter said.

"It's important to understand that the convictions for murder and child molesting still stand. The only issue on retrial is whether Mr. Stevens receives the death penalty, life in prison without parole, or a definite sentence in terms of years. Mr. Stevens has the right to a jury trial to determine this," Bookwalter said.

The prosecutor will be assisted by Dick Rick, who has agreed to come out of retirement to help prepare the case, along with Justin Long, a deputy prosecutor who has been working evenings and weekends to assembly the 13-year-old case.

Stevens already had a criminal conviction for child molesting, a class C felony, when he killed Snider on July 15, 1993.

The Putnam County murder case was appealed and the Indiana Supreme Court affirmed Stevens' sentence.

It was a federal appeals court that decided Stevens did not have adequate representation from his court-appointed lawyers.

Bookwalter told the BannerGraphic that if the U.S. Supreme Court looks at the case and agrees with the death penalty, then the sentence stands.

If the sentence is set aside, however, the case will move forward to a new trial in Lafayette, he said.

Tippecanoe Superior Court 2 Judge George Heid, who sent Stevens to death row, has since died.

The Stevens case inspired "Zachary's Law" -- the state law that requires convicted sex offenders to register with local police agencies.


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I have been using Zachary's Law for 2 years now. Thanks to that law I was able to find out that my old neighbor was a child molester and was able to protect my child from them. What I want to know is why was Stevens even on the streets to begin with if he had molested a child once before? Its kind of like another person here in town who can rome everywere after he molested 4 kids. I know the whole story behind that one b/c a friend of mine was one of his victoms. I am a victom of molestation and thank god that mine got put away so that they could not hurt anyone else. What is your facination with children. That is discusting and you should do time if you dont get the death penaty. I know that mr Bookwalter will do an excelent job on this.

-- Posted by Tinkerbell1 on Wed, Dec 19, 2007, at 7:51 PM

We can only hope Mr Bookwalter does an excellent job on this! Stevens slipped through the cracks in the judicial system and ended up in Cloverdale. He went right back to his perversion. For some reason, child molesters can't stop their practices. They need to be at least removed from society.

-- Posted by Xgamer on Thu, Dec 20, 2007, at 5:44 AM

WHat gives you people the right to kill Christopher yes he was wrong in his actions and will anwser to God for that but the bible state THY SHALL NOT KILL, by taking his life it is murder as well and that is morally wrong murder is murder reguards the circumstaces I only hope that this conviction is overturned and they don't take his life it is wrong and unjust to kill anyone

-- Posted by ortman1984 on Thu, Jan 31, 2008, at 10:51 AM

In response to ortman1984. WRONG in his actions is an understatement in what this demon did. He will answer to God as we all will, but his execution should have happened years ago. Anyone who can pretend to be a friend, molest your child, strangle him with a sega cord killing him, and even help search for the child knowing that he is dead, and you have his body in a trunk somewhere later discarding him over a bridge like it is nothing is a sick sick sick individual that deserves nothing but the Death Penalty along with ALL other child molesters. Maybe that doesnt hit anywhere close to home for you as you probably do not have children or ever been a victim of molestation. Maybe he should be stoned to death like an in the Old Testament so he can dye a slow and painful death. Zach was an innocent child and his life shouldn't have ended the way it did. Why don't you try to imagine your last moments of life like his last moments? Youre being a little all to sensitive to a Demon.

-- Posted by apdanger05 on Wed, Mar 18, 2009, at 8:41 AM


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