Judge: Probable cause exists in kidnapping, robbery case

By Tim Weideman

A Riley County District Court judge determined Tuesday that there’s probable cause to believe Jerred Snyder last month may have forced a man to drive from a Manhattan gas station to a remote location, then took off with the man’s truck and money.

Judge William Malcolm reached that decision after hearing arguments from prosecutors and Snyder’s defense attorney during a preliminary hearing.

Snyder, 30, faces kidnapping, robbery and theft charges for allegedly forcing Richard Rothfuss, 69, of Junction City, on April 6 to drive him from the Shop Quik on Anderson Avenue, onto Seth Child Road and then to about the 4500 block of Marlatt Avenue.

When Riley County Senior Deputy Attorney Barry Disney asked Rothfuss if the man who robbed him was present in the courtroom, Rothfuss nodded and identified Snyder.

Snyder attended the hearing in person, partially shackled and wearing an orange inmate suit. His right hand was unrestrained so he could take notes.

Members of Snyder’s family filled Malcolm’s small courtroom. Many of their faces revealed little emotion, but a few were unable to hold back tears as they glanced at Snyder.

Rothfuss testified on Tuesday that after he returned from inside the store, Snyder walked up to his pickup truck and tapped on the passenger-side window. Rothfuss said he then rolled down the window and held the gun inside the truck but too low for anyone outside the vehicle to see.

Snyder said to unlock the door, Rothfuss said, adding he obeyed.

“He gets in,” Rothfuss said. “He says, ‘We’re going for a ride. I’m gonna want your truck.’”

Rothfuss then told how once he had driven Snyder to a rural part of Marlatt Avenue, Snyder tied him up and left in Rothfuss’ truck, which contained about $600 in cash.

Rothfuss was able to free himself from the tow strap Snyder had used to bind him. He then walked down the road until he encountered a couple who offered to let him contact Riley County police.

Rothfuss later said Snyder looked “just a little wild-eyed” during the incident.

In addition to the incident involving Rothfuss, Snyder also was arrested for another theft case.

In that case, Malcolm on Tuesday ruled prosecutors had provided enough evidence to show Snyder may have stolen several items from Dianna Philippi, 61, and pawned them at a Manhattan shop.

Philippi testified that Snyder was a tenant in one of the bedrooms in her home at 739 Dehoff Drive from mid-February to early April.

On April 3, Philippi reported to police that a pair of night vision binoculars, a hunting knife, a projector, an HD tablet and a camcorder was missing from her bedroom in the home.

Philippi noted that for the majority of the month she is a “house mom” at the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity house, where she spends most nights.

Disney in court provided a pawn slip that he said showed Snyder pawned the items.

But McRell argued that other people could have stolen the items. He told Malcolm the details of who stayed in the house during the time and when, exactly, the items were taken remained too blurry.

Malcolm scheduled Snyder to appear for arraignment hearings in both cases in front of Judge John Bosch on June 16 at 10:30 a.m. Malcolm also denied McRell’s request to reduce Snyder’s total bond from $125,000 to $50,000.

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