Suspect in Blake Snyder killing won’t face death penalty 

CLAYTON, Mo. - There was upsetting news for the widow of St. Louis County Police Officer Blake Snyder and police officers across the area Friday.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch announced that the accused killer, 19-year-old Trent Forster, would not face the death penalty.

Along with shooting and killing Snyder, Forster shot Snyder’s partner multiple times, authorities said, when the two officers responded to a disturbance on Arno Drive in Green Park in the early morning hours of October 6, 2016.

Snyder left behind his wife, Elizabeth, and their young son.

Forster would have killed Blake’s partner had the gun not jammed, Elizabeth Snyder said.

“The message that’s being sent to our public and to the society, to law enforcement, and to the criminals, is that you can plan to kill a cop, say you want to kill a cop, and then you can go do it and not have to answer for it,” she said.

Forster posted messages on social media about wanting to kill police officers, she said.

McCulloch refused interviews, but said in a statement:

“After a complete examination and reexamination of all evidence in this case, I have determined that seeking a death sentence … is not appropriate … the evidence examined includes all reports, physical items, witness interviews and medical, psychiatric, and social records pertaining to the defendant … I cannot elaborate on the decision (citing ethical concerns) … All evidence will be presented at trial.”

The St. Louis County Police Association released a statement saying “we remain confident” in McCulloch’s handling of the case. At the same time, officers everywhere shared Elizabeth Snyder’s disappointment, said the association’s business manager, Matt Crecelius.

“It’s the ultimate kick in the teeth to the public trust. We’re here to serve the public. When someone targets us, we feel that would be the ultimate chance to seek the death penalty,” he said.

“This is one of those times that you go for the death penalty. You allow a jury to decide instead of just making a decision arbitrarily not to go for it,” Elizabeth Snyder said. “He’s going to get three square meals a day. He’s going to get a comfortable bed, a TV, gym time, friends … everything that my husband does not get. This killer’s family will one day be able to visit him in prison. I have to visit my husband in a grave.”

McCulloch met with her to explain her reasoning. She would not discuss it, saying she in no way wanted to jeopardize the trail.

McCulloch pointed out that Forster had been charged with first-degree murder, assaulting a law enforcement officer, and armed criminal action, and that he faces life without parole—plus additional sentences—if convicted on all counts.

The trial is set for February 4, 2019.