Kirk Snyder sentenced to three years in prison
May 8th, 2010

The Kirk Snyder saga has been covered at length on this website, including only recently in the Where Are They Now series. In that post, I wrote this:

On March 30th last year, Snyder was arrested and charged with aggravated burglary and felonious assault. Snyder reportedly broke into a house on the same street as his, and beat up the male occupant as he slept, in front of his wife. And then he went back to his house as if nothing had happened. The wife who witnessed the beating called the police, who brought a canine unit along and tracked a scent back to Snyder’s house. Snyder was arrested, charged, and taken to jail, where he promptly got into a fight with another inmate. Due to the savage and seemingly unprovoked nature of the initial beating, Snyder was sent for psychiatric evaluation, and later placed on suicide watch.

While in the psychiatric hospital, Snyder refused all medication and all food. A court order came down allowing him to be force-fed, and several months later, Snyder was found competent to stand trial (being diagnosed with bipolar disorder). Snyder was released under the proviso that he wore an electronic ankle bracelet, and even tried to play basketball again in China. But the CBA vetoed any move, and Snyder was later re-arrested and returned to jail after he cut off the ankle bracelet.

Last month, the case finally went to trial, with Snyder found mentally competent. His defence of temporary insanity did not work, and it didn’t take long before he was found guilty on all charges. Snyder currently awaits his sentencing hearing which takes place next month, and his charges include a felony count that carries a mandatory prison sentence, with a maximum term of 18 years.

That sentence has now been passed, and the saga has now reached its inevitable conclusion.

An Ohio judge has sentenced a former NBA player to three years in prison for breaking into his neighbors’ home and attacking them.

Judge Neal Bronson of Warren County Common Pleas Court sentenced 26-year-old Kirk Snyder on Wednesday and ordered him to pay $5,550 in restitution.

Snyder made no comment. His attorney argued for probation.

Another ex-CBA player with a focus on this website is Lee Benson. Benson was a tearaway as a young man, recording numerous arrests and convictions that inevitably culminated in convictions for abduction with a firearm, possession of crack cocaine and aggravated drug trafficking. Benson received between 7 and 22 years in prison, eventually serving eight and a half, and was 27 years old when he got out of prison, with no college or professional basketball experience.

He was good, though. And if you’re good, that often wins out. Benson had to start from scratch at an age that should have been his prime, but he did; he went to spend a year at junior college, where he led the whole JC circuit with a 35.4 points per game average (also averaging 11 rebounds, good for second). He was an athletic and strong 28-year-old 6’11 grown man, so he should have been dominating the junior college circuit, but nevertheless, it’s hard to dominate any level of basketball by that much.

The NBA took note of those numbers, and Benson’s first taste of professional basketball was a workout with the Toronto Raptors. (He was, after all, still draft eligible.) Benson left the Raptors early to go and play in China, and he’s since split several years between the CBA and Puerto Rico, putting up big numbers and earning some decent pay checks. In the 2008/09 season, he averaged 34/19/6. And that was as a 35-year-old.

I say all this about Benson because it might pertain to Snyder. Assuming Kirk serves the full three years of his term – history suggests he’s not a candidate for a good behaviour early release – he’ll be 30 when he comes out. 30 is old, but it’s not too old to continue a professional basketball career. It appears impossible that Snyder will ever return to the NBA – he was only ever a decent NBA player, and he’d have to be a lot better than decent to overlook this history – but that doesn’t mean the end of his career. Snyder has the calibre to star in lower leagues, as evidenced by the 34ppg/10rpg he averaged in China in 2008/09. He will have witnessed first hand what Benson was doing in the same place, after Benson had come from the same place.

It’s over for now, but it’s not over yet. But the path back from that conviction, that act and that diagnosis is a seriously long one.

Posted by at 3:46 AM