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Measure To End Time Limit In Murder Cases Is Shelved

SANTA FE — A Senate committee has shelved a bill that would have removed the time limit for prosecuting second-degree murder.

Senate Bill 37 was prompted by the case of an Albuquerque woman whose husband’s body was discovered eight years after she killed him.

Ellen Snyder pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the 2002 death of Michael Snyder. The statute of limitations for second-degree murder, six years, had expired. Only first-degree murder has no statute of limitations under current law.

Ellen Snyder was sentenced last year to 11 years in prison, the maximum the judge could impose under the plea deal.

The Senate Judiciary Committee tabled the bill on a 6-2 vote, with Democrats voting to table it and Republicans opposed.

The action effectively kills the bill for the session, which ends Thursday.

A spokesman for Gov. Susana Martinez said the vote was “incredibly disappointing.”

“I think most New Mexicans would agree with the governor that no one in our state should be able to murder someone and get away with it by simply running out the clock,” said the spokesman, Scott Darnell.

Senate Minority Whip William Payne, R-Albuquerque, was the bill’s sponsor.

His bill, which had been altered in a previous committee, would have eliminated the statute of limitations for second-degree murder and set a 10-year limit for prosecuting voluntary and involuntary manslaughter and homicide by vehicle.
— This article appeared on page A6 of the Albuquerque Journal