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Jury finds Trenton Forster guilty of first-degree murder

The jury has found defendant Trenton Forster guilty of first-degree murder in the death of St. Louis County Police Officer Blake Synder.

February 08, 2019 - 12:49 pm
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX/AP) updated with sentencing - After four-and-a-half hours of deliberation, the jury has found defendant Trenton Forster guilty of first-degree murder in the death of St. Louis County Police Officer Blake Snyder in October 2016.

Forster waived his right to a sentencing hearing, and has been sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Prosecutors announced previously that they wouldn't seek the death penalty.



The defense conceded that Forster killed Snyder but argued that he should be convicted of second-degree murder, citing a "diminished capacity'' because of Forster's history of trauma, mental illness and drug use. The charge would have carried a 30-year sentence and the possibility of parole.

The decision came after a week-long trial, which needed overflow rooms to hold the hundreds of officers and supporters of the Snyder family. 

Related: Prosecutors Say Alleged Killer of Officer Snyder Wanted 'Suicide by Cop'

At stake in the trial was whether Forster might get a second-degree murder conviction and hope for future parole – or get a first-degree conviction and face life without parole.

Related: Widow of Officer Synder Calls for Big Turnout at Friday's Closing Arguments

The defense never denied Forster killed Snyder, but put witnesses on the stand to argue that Forster is a drug addict with a history of mental problems, and that he committed the crime spur of the moment when a police officer approached him to investigate a peace disturbance call.

Throughout the trial, Forster sat calmly, sometimes appearing bored or slouching, while the jury heard testimony from experts on his mental state.

Related: Jury Shown Unforgettable Images in Trial Against Officer Synder's Alleged Killer

Earlier in the week, the jury was shown color photographs from Snyder's autopsy, showing the damage done by the single bullet that struck him in the chin and severed his carotid artery before lodging in his back.

Snyder's widow, Elizabeth, and several family members have been attending the trial all week, along with dozens of county police officers.

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