FRESNO COUNTY (KFSN) --A sexually violent predator could be leaving the state hospital and heading for a Fresno County home.
Jeffrey Snyder will not be a popular neighbor no matter where he goes. Five times over the span of 15 years, he was convicted of sex crimes with kids. Every time he got out, he committed a new sex crime.
Snyder finished his last sentence 12 years ago, but he's been kept at the Coalinga State Hospital ever since -- labeled a sexually violent predator too dangerous to release. That is, until now.
"(They) searched several hundred properties," said prosecutor Richard Thomas about the search to find Snyder a suitable home. "This one they've entered into a tentative contract pending court approval."
Judge Gary Hoff deemed Snyder safe enough to release last March.
His attorney says Snyder is ready to rejoin society after excelling at several programs at the hospital, and learning coping skills and risk avoidance. But neighbors fought against the first place picked for his release -- a home in northwest Fresno, which even his attorney says seemed like a bad idea.
"We certainly don't want to expose Mr. Snyder to risky situations," said Curtis Sok. "I think he'll be happier in the country area and I heard this is like, there's nothing much around it."
The new location is remote, about four miles up a narrow, winding road with very little traffic. That winding road leads to a Squaw Valley property where Snyder has contracted to live in a trailer. He won't have much in the way of neighbors, but he will have some. And there is one other problem.
A school bus stop sign stands about a half mile away. Under state law, that's okay and not far away, the Megan's Law website shows two other sex offenders.
Snyder's attorney says he'll be watched closely and won't even be allowed to go anywhere without a human monitor. But the bottom line is he thinks Snyder is a different man than the rape victim who became a sexual predator.
"People who work the program, they can improve and they can really reform in their heart in their soul and that's what happened with Mr. Snyder," Sok said.
Squaw Valley residents aren't convinced. The hearing is Feb. 28 and the public is welcome to attend and voice their concerns. Otherwise, they can send in their comments before the hearing. Here's how the district attorney's office suggests they do it:
Public comments will be accepted between the dates of January 13, 2017 and February 17, 2017. The comments will be forwarded to the Dept. of State Hospitals and to the Court before the hearing on this matter. Public comment will also be accepted at the hearing.
- Email: DAMail@co.fresno.ca.us
- Mail: Fresno County District Attorney's Office
Attn: Sexual Assault Unit
2220 Tulare St., Suite 1000
Fresno, CA 93721
The District Attorney's Office is not responsible for the selection of the proposed site. The selection process is the sole responsibility of the Department of State Hospitals and the Fresno County Superior Court.