Murder/arson suspect ordered to take competency exam. 

April 6, 2022

Murder/arson suspect ordered to take competency exam. 

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

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Jeffrey Grant

LUDINGTON — Hope Lynn Snyder, 41, of Chippewa County, the woman accused of murdering Sheridan Township resident Jeffery Grant, has been ordered to take a competency examination by 79th District Court Judge John Middlebrook. Snyder appeared in court today, via video from the Mason County Jail. Her court-appointed defense attorney, Al Swanson Jr., asked the court to grant an examination for competency and criminal responsibility. 

Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Lauren Kreinbrink argued against the motion, stating that Snyder plead guilty in 51st Circuit Court on Feb. 1, 2022 to unlawfully driving away a motor vehicle. Kreinbrink said Snyder entered her plea intelligently and competently. 

Swanson rebutted that previous court appearances have no standing on competency and that the defendant is currently on medications, though he would not disclose the type of medication she is on. 

Jeffrey Grant, 57, died in a house fire at 3746 N. Morse Road in Sheridan Township on Nov. 22, 2021. Grant’s two dogs also died in the fire. The main suspect in the case, Snyder, of 81 Kincheloe Drive, Kincheloe, Chippewa County. last month in Mason County’s 79th District Court on five felony charges: 

  • Homicide, open murder, punishable by up to life imprisonment. 
  • Homicide, felony murder, punishable by life imprisonment without parole. 
  • First degree arson, punishable by up to life imprisonment and/or a $20,000 fine, or three times the value of the property damaged or destroyed, whichever is greater.
  • Animals, killing/torturing, second degree (two counts), punishable by up to seven years imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine. 
  • Habitual offender, third offense, increasing the maximum sentence on the primary offense to twice the term. She has served prison time for two prior felonies, a larceny to a building charge from Mackinaw County and a theft charge from Alaska.

She also is awaiting sentencing on the unlawfully driving away a motor vehicle charges. 

Judge Middlebrook agreed with the defense. “To proceed forward with a trial and to go through a trial when an issue has been raised by the attorney for the defendant, who is an officer of the court, would be folly,” Middlebrook said. “If you go through a trial and all the effort and work to go through the trial and end up with a conviction it could come back in appeal. When the stakes are as high as someone facing life in prison, we need to be careful. I fully understand the state’s position.” 

Middlebrook said he would continue to not set bond for Snyder and ordered that competency results be returned to the court within 60 days. 

During a March press conference, Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole said in his 30-plus years of law enforcement, he had never seen a case like this one.  

Cole said sheriff’s office detectives have conducted over 18 interviews and executed over 23 search warrants, including eight digital devices. Investigations have been conducted in Osceola, Saginaw, Lapeer, Tuscola and Mackinaw counties and Anchorage, Alaska. Detectives have even worked with police from Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Snyder was apprehended by police while attempting to board a flight to Alaska at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. She had initially taken a flight from Saginaw to Detroit. 

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