NEW VOICES: 'Zachary's Law' Case Settles with a Life Sentence; Victim's Family Given Finality
Todd Snider, the father of Zachary Snider, who was killed at age 10 by Christopher Stevens in Indiana, accepted final resolution of the case against Stevens when a settlement was reached for a sentence of life without parole. “Our family has suffered enough and would like for this to be resolved once and for all," Mr. Snider said about the life sentence. "This will give our family finality. Chris Stevens will die in prison and will never have the opportunity to destroy people's lives again." The 1993 murder led to the passage of Zachary’s Law, creating Indiana's sex offender registry. Stevens was originally sentenced to death, but the sentence was overturned in 2007 because Stevens' attorneys had not adequately presented evidence of the defendant's mental illness. Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter said he “believe[s] it was probable that another jury would have given Mr. Stevens the death penalty, but it would have caused the Sniders to go through a lengthy jury trial, and then if convicted, a new set of appeals could have gone on another 10 years. With the plea, this case is over. There are no more appeals and the Sniders should never have to deal with Stevens again."
Stevens agreed to the life sentence during a recent meeting, and is expected to be sentenced in November. A new penalty trial had been set for early next year, but the victim’s parents agreed to the life sentence instead of pursuing the death penalty.