Lisa Snyder, the mother who hanged her two children in the basement of her home in Berks County in 2019, will mount an insanity defense in court. This week, her attorneys also requested a judge to separate her homicide case from the charges related to her having sex with her dog.

On Thursday, Attorneys Dennis G. Charles and James J. Burke filed papers in Berks County Court citing a number of serious mental health issues on the part of their client. They also asked for the trial to be moved and for prosecutors to be barred from showing crime scene photos to jurors.

Snyder’s lawyers revealed in the motion that she has a “chronic history of severe mental disorders” at the time of her children’s death, including major depression with psychotic features, anxiety disorder, affective disorder and post-partum depression dating to when she was 16. They also claimed that the suspect was afflicted with a recurrent and severe major depressive disorder last year.

Snyder is facing first-degree murder and several other charges for allegedly killing her 8-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter by hanging last year. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty if she is convicted of first-degree murder.

Meanwhile, court documents also reveal that Lisa Snyder’s attorneys sought to sever the dog-related charges from her homicide case, saying the pieces of evidence linked to the charges of sexual intercourse with a dog and cruelty to animals “will impermissibly inflame the passions of, and unfairly prejudice the jury.” They also asked that Snyder’s Google search history in the weeks leading up to her children’s death not be shown to a jury, arguing that they are of “lewd, lascivious, and taboo” in nature.

According to police, Lisa Snyder made Google searches on a variety of topics before she killed her children. These topics include suicide, drug overdoses, death by hanging, and how to kill someone. However, Snyder’s lawyers said in the motion that the said searches were never authenticated and dismissed the charges against Lisa Snyder as mere “speculation and guesswork.”

Lisa Snyder
Lisa R. Snyder is charged with first-degree murder, third-degree murder, tampering with evidence, endangering the welfare of children, animal cruelty and sexual intercourse with an animal. Berks County Jail System