FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fiery opposition kept Jeffrey Snyder from getting out of Coalinga State Hospital for a long time, but it could not stop him from getting a long-awaited taste of freedom.
Fourteen years ago, a judge deemed Snyder a sexually violent predator-- a sex offender with a diagnosed mental disorder. So even though he served the time for his crimes, he was committed to the state hospital for treatment. Last year, a judge ruled the risk of giving him a conditional release was minimal and after rejecting a couple proposed permanent homes, one of them because it suspiciously burned down, he ordered Snyder released as a transient.
Legal analyst Tony Capozzi said, "Well, is that going to protect the public? It should. He's going to have someone with him 24 hours a day. He's going to have a GPS locator on him constantly. All law enforcement agencies will know where he is in real time."
Police will be able to find out where Snyder is as he moves from motel to motel to keep his transient status. But he will never stay anywhere longer than five days and he will never register his address so the public will know where he is.
Keeping constant guard over a homeless Snyder will cost taxpayers $506,000 a year extra over releasing him to a permanent location. But Legal Analyst Tony Capozzi said that is the price of keeping people safe and giving sexually violent predators a chance to reform.
"Time will tell as to whether or not this system works. It's not a good system, it's not something that's satisfactory to everyone, but we don't have a better one at this point in time."
State contractor Liberty Healthcare is responsible for supervising and housing Snyder. They have looked into more than 1,700 potential homes for him and they will keep looking.
But before placing Snyder anywhere permanently, they will let the public know and the heated opposition could prevent it.