State Supreme Court declines to review Snow child abuse case

The Arkansas Supreme Court has declined the state’s request to review the child abuse case of Jonathan Snow, which only leaves the conviction of endangering the welfare of a minor to stand.In his October 2017 trial, a Baxter County Circuit Court jury found Snow guilty of first-degree battery and endangering the welfare of a minor and recommended a 41-year prison sentence, which the court accepted.

Snow appealed the decision. In December last year, in a 4-2 decision, the state Court of Appeals threw out Snow’s first-degree battery conviction, but allowed the jury’s guilty verdict of endangering the welfare of a minor to stand.

The state then went to the Supreme Court asking for a review, in an attempt to have the more serious first-degree battery charge upheld. With the state Supreme Court’s refusal to review the case, the Appeals Court decision stands.

Gary Potts, Snow’s attorney, argued the state did not prove Snow actually inflicted the life-threatening injuries on his 3-week-old son, Alyas, and the injuries could just as well have been caused by the baby’s mother, Alyssia Kirby Snow. He said his client’s conviction rested solely on an inadequate amount of circumstantial evidence, forcing the jury to rely on speculation and conjecture to conclude Jonathan Snow committed the crimes.

In early February last year, another Baxter County Circuit Court jury found Alyssia Kirby Snow not guilty of first-degree battery, but guilty of permitting child abuse and endangering the welfare of a minor. She was sentenced to 26 years in prison and assessed a fine of $13,000.

The state argued the jury had more than a sufficient amount of evidence to convict Jonathan Snow of battery and endangering the welfare of a minor and denied the evidence presented by prosecutors made the jury have to rely on speculation and conjecture.

In the Supreme Court ruling, two associate justices, Shawn Womack of Mountain Home and Karen Baker of Clinton, were shown favoring the granting of the review.

Both the Appeals Court and Supreme Court cases were handled by the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office.

The charges against the couple resulted from an investigation launched in late February 2016 when the Mountain Home Police Department received a report from Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock that it was believed the couple’s baby son had suffered serious abuse. Doctors testified during Jonathan Snow’s trial the baby will have lifetime handicaps, due to the injuries he received.

The couple told investigators they were the only ones responsible for the care of the infant. At the time of the boy’s birth, the couple lived together in an apartment complex along State Highway 201 North. They were married in October 2016. At the time, Jonathan Snow was 19 years old and Alyssia Kirby Snow was 30 years old.

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