A seven-person jury in Cape Girardeau returned a verdict Wednesday awarding $1 million to the children of Zachary Snyder, a 23-year-old Dexter, Mo., man killed in Cape Girardeau by an officer with the Department of Corrections.
Steve R. Julian, a fugitive unit investigator with the Missouri Department of Corrections, received a call the night of Feb. 14, 2008, that Snyder was at an apartment complex on Themis Street. The caller reportedly told Julian that Snyder was wanted at the time for parole violation and for failure to appear.
Snyder had a record of arrests. According to reports from the night of the shooting, Julian proceeded to the parking lot on Themis Street and pulled his service pistol out as he approached Snyder. Initially, witnesses say, Snyder was compliant, but then he turned and ran, at which time Julian admittedly shot Snyder in the back. Snyder died a short time later from the gunshot wound, and Julian was charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Julian told officers at the time, "I thought he had either pulled something out of where his pants were or his shirt. I thought he was going to actually attack me."
In October 2008, Julian was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter in a Calloway County courtroom. Later, Snyder's estate brought action through Poplar Bluff, Mo., attorneys Daniel Moore and Steven Walsh, along with Dexter attorney Dennis Wilson, suing for civil rights violations, "excessive force" and for wrongful death.
The jury deliberated five hours Wednesday before returning its verdict.
The plaintiffs argued there was a "violation of the rules of safety in making an arrest, arguing that lesser force would have been appropriate," the Poplar Bluff attorneys said Friday afternoon.
Themis Street, Cape Girardeau MO