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Inmate awaiting trial for 2005 Hingham murders apparently commits suicide, authorites say

Posted by dinouye  March 10, 2012 08:19 AM

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An inmate awaiting trial on charges that he and a friend murdered two homeless men in Hingham in 2005 was found dead early Saturday after an apparent suicide, authorities said.

Eric J. Snow, 30, of Bridgewater, was found lying in his bed at the Plymouth County Correctional Facility with a plastic bag over his head, said Bridget Middleton, a spokeswoman for Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz. Snow was
unresponsive and was transported to Jordan Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Reached for comment, Snow’s former attorney sharply criticized the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office for holding his client in “isolation” for years.

“It’s a shameful disgrace,” said Gerald Fitzgerald, Snow’s lawyer. “We live in a society that treats animals in a zoo more decently and more humanely than they treat men in prison awaiting trial... They broke him.”

“Why, against their own policies, is this man in isolation for four years?” said Fitzgerald.

A spokesman for the Plymouth County Sheriff’s office did not immediately return a call seeking a response to Snow’s comments. Other authorities did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Fitzgerald, who insisted that his client was innocent of the murders, said he wrote to authorities on numerous occasions to ask that Snow be placed with the general prisoner population, but said the requests were denied or went unanswered.

Asked if his client exhibited any signs of mental distress during recent meetings, Fitzgerald reiterated that Snow had been kept away from other prisoners and said, “where do you think his head was?”

Authorities said Snow’s death appeared to be self-inflicted; he was found alone in his cell and foul play is not suspected. The incident is being investigated by the Plymouth County District Attorney and the State Police.

Snow, who used the nickname “Killa,” was being held without bail on homicide charges at the time of his death. He was one of two suspects in a high-profile murder case in May 2005, when Hingham police found the bodies of William Chrapan, 44, and David Lyon, 46, in a long-abandoned military bunker near Bare Cove Park. Both had been beaten and one of Chrapan’s hands was missing, severed at the wrist.

Police investigated the murders for two years before indicting Snow and his friend James Winquist in 2007.

Snow had a violent criminal history that included assault charges. He had been described by prosecutors as a white supremacist. Legal proceedings in anticipation of his trial revealed gruesome details about Snow’s alleged involvement in the murders, including testimony describing how Snow showed off Chrapan’s severed hand at a party.

After a number of defense motions to dismiss the case failed, Snow and Winquist’s trial had been scheduled for this May, Middleton said. Prosecutors will still move forward with Winquist’s trial.

A woman who answered the phone at Snow’s home in Bridgewater said the family had no comment.

Dan Adams can be reached at DAdams@globe.com and on Twitter at @DanielAdams86.

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