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Tamaqua man gets state prison in police assault

Published May 21. 2019 01:02PM

A Tamaqua man, with arrests dating back to 1999, who scuffled with state police in 2017, is headed to state prison for three to six years for that incident, Schuylkill County Judge Charles Miller ruled Friday. That sentence will be added as consecutive to a sentence he’s already serving, 1½ years for device access fraud, for a total sentence of 4½ to 7½ years.

Brandon R. Snyder, 36, was arrested July 3, 2017, during an incident on Ann Street in Norwegian Township, in an area known as East Mines. According to the arrest report, Snyder encountered Brian Gradwell, who was at his vehicle preparing to leave for work. Snyder assaulted Gradwell and state police Cpl. Mark Knock, who responded.

On April 4, a Schuylkill County jury found Snyder, 36, guilty on all eight counts filed by Pennsylvania State Police: aggravated assault, two counts of simple assault, resisting arrest and summary counts of harassment, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct. Miller ordered a presentence investigation.

First Assistant District Attorney Mike Stine detailed Snyder’s arrest record from 1999-2017 which includes four DUIs, retail thefts and access device fraud.

“I’m looking at somebody who can’t stay out of trouble when he’s at liberty,” Stine said, in giving Miller his sentencing recommendations. “In fact, the only gap in his criminal history is from 2008 to 2013, when he was incarcerated.”

Snyder took the stand and said that the report of his injuries from the incident “filled a 24-page hospital record” while the state police officer only had “a scratched knuckle.” He acknowledged that he had a lengthy record but said that “assault and violence is not there; drug and alcohol issues, yes.”

Before issuing the sentence, Judge Miller said that he remembered Snyder from prior proceedings and “was impressed with you being a smart young man.

“But that officer had every right to protect himself, and your injuries were all brought on by you,” Miller added. “He (the officer) had a duty to protect the public; thank God we do have officers to protect the public.

“You really ought to grow up,” Miller added. “A guy like you could have been successful at a lot of things.”

Snyder, who represented himself at trial and sentencing, supported by standby defense attorney Adam Weaver, told Miller that he wants an attorney to represent him in the appeal process. Snyder’s request for a new trial was denied by Miller on May 10. Snyder must pay the costs of prosecution, and $150 restitution to Gradwell. He’ll get credit for 132 days already served.

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