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Press Release

Decatur Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murder Conspiracy, Armed Robbery

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of Illinois

Urbana, Ill. – U.S. District Judge Colin S. Bruce today sentenced Kelton Snyder, 24, of Decatur, Ill., to life in prison for conspiring to murder a witness, Paige Mars, also of Decatur, in April 2015. Under federal statute, there is no parole or early release for a defendant serving a life sentence for conspiracy to murder a witness.

“Because of defendant Snyder’s actions, a young woman’s life ended in a violent and senseless act,” said U.S. Attorney Jim Lewis. “The result of investigative work by our partner law enforcement agencies, together with the U.S. Attorney’s office, to investigate and prosecute these crimes, holds Snyder accountable, and in prison, for the rest of his life.”

“The arrest and sentencing of Snyder highlights how the teamwork of our federal and local law enforcement partners continues to remove violent criminals from our streets,” said Sean Cox, FBI Special Agent in Charge. “We are committed to aggressively search, locate and apprehend violent criminals to make our neighborhoods safer.”

In April 2016, a jury convicted Snyder for conspiring to murder Paige Mars, 19, after Snyder and his co-conspirator robbed the Circle K convenience store at 1685 South Baltimore in Decatur on April 3, 2015. Snyder had previously pled guilty, on Mar. 7, 2016, to committing the armed robbery, brandishing a 12-gauge shotgun during the robbery, and that he was a convicted felon, legally barred from possession of firearms, when he committed the robbery.

During four days of trial, the government presented evidence that Snyder met with his co-conspirator on April 5, 2015, because he feared that Mars, who served as the robbery getaway driver, might go to law enforcement about the robbery. The government presented evidence, including surveillance camera recordings of the robbery, where Snyder is clearly seen holding a shotgun, the same weapon used to murder Mars. Evidence also included text and Facebook messages that Mars questioned Snyder about information she had heard, that Snyder was violent to women. Mars’ body was found on April 6, 2015, in the vicinity of the sanitation district.  Also on April 6, officers executed a search warrant at Snyder’s grandmother’s home, where Snyder had been living in a basement bedroom, in the 300 block of S. 19th Street, Decatur.  Officers recovered 20-gauge and 12-gauge shotgun shells from Snyder’s bedroom. On May 15, 2015, officers recovered a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun hidden along a path in the sanitation district, which was the shotgun used during the robbery and in the murder.

The case was prosecuted in federal court by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jason Bohm and Katherine Boyle. The Decatur Police Department and FBI conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Macon County Sheriff’s Office.

Updated October 25, 2016

Firearms Offenses
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Violent Crime