WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Marie Snyder pleaded guilty Monday to charges relating to the deaths of her two daughters and admitted to intentionally going along with former girlfriend, Echo Butler, to starve her daughters to death.
An emotional Snyder said she wanted to tell the truth as she pleaded guilty in court to two counts of conspiracy to commit homicide related to the deaths of her two daughters.
Snyder is facing two consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole. If she chooses to withdraw her guilty plea, then the Commonwealth will pursue the death penalty.
In January, Marie Snyder and Echo Butler were charged with homicide after a months-long investigation was underway regarding remains found of two missing girls in Lycoming County.
Police say the remains of two young girls were removed from the yard of a Hepburn Township property in November 2021 and were identified by police as six-year-old Nicole Snyder and four-year-old Jasmine Snyder.
The pair hadn’t been seen by officials in years. The girls were malnourished and physically abused, ultimately passing for their injuries, police said. Investigators said Nicole died first in May 2016 and Jasmine died in August 2017.
Four suspects are allegedly involved in the deaths, Marie Snyder, the children’s mother, Echo Butler, her partner, and Michele and Ronald Butler, Echo’s parents.
Police interviewed Snyder, Echo Butler, and Echo’s mother, Michele Butler after their arrest in November and said that the girls died as a result of starvation and physical abuse.
Court papers indicate Snyder and Butler would only feed the girls small portions of food and “two sips of water” with what little they were fed.
Witness testimony stated that the girls would be forced to eat alone in a dark room whiles others had full meals, and believed the girls received cold baths as punishment.
Snyder received benefits for both children from the time they were born until four to five years after they died, police said.
The other charges Snyder has pleaded guilty to are two counts of theft by deception and accepting food assistance, and stamps.
As part of her guilty plea, Snyder is scheduled to testify against Butler during her trial.
Sentencing for Snyder has yet to be scheduled and there is no trial date set for Butler.
Michele Butler is expected to plead guilty to her charges on December 5. Echo is scheduled to have a pre-trial conference on December 13.