Jury Convicts Richland Teen of 2nd-Degree Murder

The jury in the murder trial of 19-year-old Josh Hunt finds him guilty of murder in the second-degree.

The panel of 12 could not unanimously decide on a convicting Hunt of first-degree murder, which would mean the shooting death of Joshua Snapp last summer was premeditated.

Snapp's father said he'd hoped for more.

"We're a little disappointed," said Chris Snapp. "That being what it is, this is the justice system and they did what they felt was right and I guess in this point we have to be thankful that they came to the decision that they did."

After six days of testimony, the jury started deliberations last Friday afternoon, deciding on a verdict last night.

The defense told the jury Hunt was high on methamphetamine, marijuana and alcohol the night of the murder and did not know what was going on when he killed Snapp.

Hunt admitted to the shooting when he took the stand in his own defense.

Prosecuting Attorney Andy Miller said making the decision on premediatation is not easy.

"We're happy it wasn't manslaughter, we would have been unhappy with that," said Miller. "The difference with premeditation in first and second-degree is very difficult in a situation like this and I think we have to respect the jury's decision."

18-year-old John Young is also accused of shooting Snapp along with Hunt the morning of July 4th near Horn Rapids in Richland.

Young's trial is tentatively scheduled for March 10th.

Police reports indicate Hunt and Young lured Snapp into the desert to smoke marijuana and confronted him about being an informant and owing Hunt money.

Hunt shot Snapp in the chest and Young allegedly shot Snapp in the head.

Defense Attorney Shane Silverthron said Hunt is devastated that he killed Snapp.  

"He's very upset with what he did," said Silverthorn. "The crying on the stand, not fake, every time we've talked about that, he's cried."

Snapp's father said it will never really be enough.

"Our family really feels that in regards to our son, Joshua, justice will not be served until God finds a way to make it right," said Snapp.

The jury voted 10-2 for murder in the first degree, but without that unanimous vote, the conviction was automatically bumped down to the lesser charge of second degree murder .

Hunt is looking at anywhere between 10 and 19 years for the murder charge and five years for a firearm enhancement charge.

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