Despite pleas for leniency, judge opts for jail in Carbondale ’vigilante justice’ case
Woman involved in 2018 beating over marijuana sentenced to 90 days in jail
A Carbondale woman who participated in the 2018 beating of a teenager and burglary of his house was sentenced Monday to 90 days in jail and four years of probation.
Lily Snyder, 21, was distraught during the virtual sentencing, wailing aloud and wondering who would take care of her disabled mother while she served time behind bars. But District Judge Chris Seldin, who acknowledged Snyder’s rough life so far, told her she was lucky she wasn’t on her way to prison.
“The serious nature of the crime justifies a sentence to the Department of Corrections,” Seldin said. “This incident is best described, in my view, as one involving vigilante justice perpetrated by a gang of young people on someone who had crossed them. That is totally intolerable in a civilized society.”
The incident in question occurred July 18, 2018, when three cars of people drove up to the home of William Morris, then 18 years old, found him in his front yard and attacked him, according to court records. He nearly lost consciousness after being hit in the back of the head before running inside his home.
Snyder, Israel Carreno and Benito Santoyo then forced their way inside the home, pinned Morris down on a couch and beat him with brass knuckles and a pipe or baton and stabbed him with a screwdriver. One of Morris’ neighbors later found him covered in blood and called Pitkin County sheriff’s deputies, though Morris apparently didn’t suffer serious injuries.
Carreno later pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and was sentenced in July 2019 to six months in jail on work release and probation. Santoyo, who allegedly stabbed Morris, pleaded guilty earlier this month to second-degree assault and was sentenced to between five and 16 years in the Garfield County Community Corrections program, a rigorous rehabilitation facility.
Kathy Goudy, Snyder’s attorney, said Monday that her client and the others were upset after Morris broke into Snyder’s home, knocked her disabled mother down and stole a gallon plastic bag of marijuana. Goudy also pushed back on previously reported allegations that Snyder’s home was a “drug house,” saying there was no evidence of such a claim.
“They should have called police (after Morris’ actions),” Goudy said. “(But) there was no evidence the Snyder house was a drug house.”
Morris, who was initially charged with felony possession of marijuana, later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession and has since moved out of Colorado, prosecutor Don Nottingham said.
Goudy strongly urged Seldin not to sentence her client to jail time, though Nottingham advocated for the 90-day jail sentence.
“There’s nothing to be served in this case with a jail sentence,” Goudy said. “It’s wrong.”
Snyder tearfully told the judge she takes care of her mother and volunteers in her community.
“I don’t know how my mother would be without me,” she said. “I’ve never been without her. What’s my mom supposed to do?”
But Seldin would not change his mind.
“There is just no way for the court to conclude that a punitive sanction is unjustified here,” he said. “The court’s position is the sentence you’re receiving is light in nature of the offense.”
The judge, however, did allow one Snyder one consolation. He stayed her jail sentence for 60 days so she and her mother can make arrangements for her care.
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