BROOKEVILLE, Md. (ABC7) — The "crazed" man who opened fire in his Brookeville neighborhood, murdering three people and then killing himself, somehow managed to expunge multiple criminal cases from Maryland’s public record.
Last week, ABC7 revealed that Montgomery County Police had charged Christopher Snyder, 41, with concealing a dangerous weapon and drug possession (not marijuana) in June 2017. The case’s basic information was listed on LexisNexis, a subscription-based electronic database containing millions of public documents.
However, because Snyder was granted an expungement, all documentation of his 2017 charges have been wiped from Maryland’s public record, making additional information near impossible to unearth without the assistance of a whistleblower.
Speaking of whistleblowers, a confidential source leaked ABC7 a two-page print out from Maryland Judiciary Case Search, a website containing criminal, civil, traffic and other types of court cases. The leaked document, which had been in the source’s possession for some time, shows that Montgomery County Police arrested Snyder in August 2014, on charges of first-degree assault, reckless endangerment and the use of a firearm while committing a violent felony.
According to the leaked document, Snyder committed the crimes on Aug. 3, but was not arrested until Aug. 22. He bonded out of jail on Aug. 23, records show. No finer details about the case are currently known because Snyder managed to have that case expunge as well.
Kush Arora is listed as Snyder's defense attorney in the 2014 matter. A phone call and online message to his law firm Friday went unreturned.
The Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office had prosecutorial authority over Snyder’s 2014 and 2017 criminal cases. A spokesman for the law enforcement agency said state law prevented him from commenting about the details or outcome of either case. He further explained the same law bound him from discussing the possibility of additional expunged criminal cases involving Snyder, a veteran who worked closely with law enforcement at the Code 3 Tactical Academy in Howard County.
According to a Montgomery County District Court clerk assigned to criminal expungements, there are a myriad of ways to be eligible for erasing a case. That list includes, but is not limited to, defendants who have had their cases dropped, been found incompetent to stand trial or received a probation before judgment (PBJ). Filing for an expungement can cost up to $30 per criminal case and typically takes between 60 to 90 days to process.
The Montgomery County Police Department explains its records department does not have access to expunged cases.
"Under Maryland law, an expungement pretty much means it's gone," Capt. Paul Starks told ABC7 during a phone interview Monday.
Starks did say that certain documents connected to an expunged case might be kept "informally," in a filing cabinet or on a computer, for instance. Some of those documents might be inadvertently stored, while others may be intentionally retained for possible investigative purposes "further down the line."
According to Starks, Montgomery County Police have no prior calls for service at Snyder's Brookeville residence along Brown Farm Way over the last three years. That is approximately how far back the department's dispatch records go, Starks said.