Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Walter Snyder

First Name Walter
Last NameSnyder
Year of Conviction1986
Year of Exoneration1993
State of ConvictionVirginia
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape
Death SentenceNo
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeBlack
Type of Innocence Defense
  • Alibi
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Defendant’s mother testified that defendant was at home asleep at the time the crime occurred.

Did the defendant testify at trial?Yes
Quotes from Exoneree Testimony

“A: Then, that’s when they started yelling at me ‘What are you doing down here for?’ I’m supposed to be a suspect in some type of rape. We got to talking about how it occurred. This guy was supposed to have went through a window or something like that. He said, ‘How do you know about this?’ What happened is we were talking about how I got there. They said, I did it. They wanted me to admit it. They said I did it. I did not do this. We started talking about, you know, how women come over to a guy. Q: Who was saying that? A: The police officer. Q: Saying it to you? A: Saying it to me. ‘You know how when women comes on to you, gets you off and start things. Carry on and different things start to happening, and one thing leads to another.’ What two people do when they get together. ‘No, it never happened…’”

Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Serology
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • No Transcript
Identity of eyewitness
  • Cross Racial Identification
  • Victim
Lineup Procedures
  • Photo array
  • Showup
Suggestive Procedures

Yes ● Show-up ● Suggestive remarks

Quotes from testimony #1

The officer told the victim that the defendant lived across the street from her: “Q. So, you were told that he lived across the street. A. Right.” Following nonidentification in photo array, Officer asked victim to come to police station, where Snyder was kept waiting in lobby by another Officer. When victim picked up, but did not identify, Snyder’s photo in array, victim recalled that the Officer asked her “Is there anything familiar about that picture?”

Unreliable Identification?

Yes ● Initial nonidentification

Quotes from testimony #2

The victim selected three photos from the photo array, not the defendant, and picked on which she thought most resembled the attacker. The defendant “would have been in whatever group of pictures that you had put aside? A. Right.

Highest level reachedAppeal
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • Coerced Confession
  • Fourth Amendment
  • Suggestive Eyewitness Identification
Citations to judicial opinions

Snyder v. Virginia, No. 0300‐87‐4 (Va. Ct. App. 1989)
Snyder v. Virginia, No. 0300‐87‐4 (Va. Ct. App. 1990)