Jury Convicts Decatur Man for Murder Conspiracy
Urbana, Ill. – A jury deliberated for approximately four hours before returning a verdict of guilty this afternoon against Kelton Snyder, 23, of Decatur, Ill., for conspiracy to murder a witness, Paige Mars, also of Decatur. Last month, on March 7, Snyder admitted that he and co-conspirator Matthew Vogt robbed the Circle K convenience store at 1685 South Baltimore in Decatur on April 3, 2015. Snyder also admitted that he brandished a 12-gauge shotgun during the robbery, and that at the time, he was a convicted felon.
The trial began last week, on April 5, one year after the death of 19-year-old Mars, on April 5, 2015. During four days of trial, the government presented evidence that Snyder met with Vogt, 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 is being 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.
Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 22, 2016. The statutory penalty for conspiracy to murder a witness is life in prison. Snyder remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.