Insanity defense planned for woman accused of hanging her two children

Lisa Rachelle Snyder, 36, of Albany Township, Pennsylvania.

Late last September, two children, 8-year-old Conner and 4-year-old Brinley, were found hanged a basement in Berks County, Pennsylvania.  On December 2 their mother, Lisa R. Snyder was charged with their murder.


Last Thursday, November 12, attorneys representing Snyder filed a 43-page motion according to the Morning Call, which requested that charges related to animal cruelty and sexual intercourse with an animal be tried separately from the murder charges related to the deaths of her children as they feel they would "impermissibly inflame the passions of, and unfairly prejudice the jury."


Her attorneys, Dennis G. Charles and James J. Burke also outline that Snyder has a "chronic history of severe mental disorders" which they state include major depression with psychotic features, anxiety disorder, affective disorder and post-partum depression dating back to when she was 16.


They allege that at the time of the murders she was afflicted with a recurrent and severe major depressive disorder, but also with borderline personality disorder and symptoms that were consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder, multiple personality disorder, and dissociative disorder.


Motions were also filed to request suppression of various conversations Snyder had over social media and with police, as well as searches she is alleged to have conducted on an account that belonged to her son, and the very cell phone Snyder is said to have used to order the dog leash.


Charles and Burke are additionally requesting a change of venue and that crime scene photos be sealed.


Snyder, who is now 37, has remained in the Berks County Jail since her arrest last December and is being held without bond.  She is charged with two counts each of first degree murder, third degree murder, and endangering the welfare of children.  She is also charged with tampering with evidence, sexual intercourse with an animal and cruelty to an animal.


The prosecution, which is being led by Assistant District Attorney Meg McCallum has stated that they will be seeking the death penalty.


Her next court date is scheduled for February 12, 2021.