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Snavely pleads to felonies




With a trial looming in less than a month, a Hays man agreed Monday to go ahead and plead no contest to a reduced number of sex crimes involving a child.

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With a trial looming in less than a month, a Hays man agreed Monday to go ahead and plead no contest to a reduced number of sex crimes involving a child.

Clinton Snavely, 49, pleaded guilty to three of the 14 charges pending against him, with the understanding he would be spending at least 188 months -- nearly 16 years -- in prison.

Snavely, still wearing long curly hair, was scheduled to go to trial on the 14 charges in early December.

Monday's hearing in Ellis County District Court took more than twice the normal time to complete, as District Judge Ed Bouker took extra time to make sure Snavely understood the gravity of what he was doing.

Both Snavely and his wife, Beverly, went through a series of four competency evaluations, all but one of which found they were both competent to stand trial.

After the fourth evaluation, at the request of defense attorneys, Bouker found both Clinton and Beverly Snavely competent to stand trial in the case that has been pending since October 2011.

Beverly Snavely already has been sentenced to 32 months in prison under the terms of a plea agreement she reached with Ellis County Attorney Tom Drees, allowing her to plead no contest to charges of attempted aggravated indecent liberties with a child and aggravated indecent solicitation of a child.

If she follows the rules in prison, Beverly Snavely could be released as early as Jan. 12, although she'll still face at least four years of post-release supervision.

Under the plea agreement reached between Drees and Clinton Snavely and his two court-appointed attorneys, John and Alex Herman, he faces the prospects of lifetime probation following his release from prison.

More than two years will be knocked off Snavely's prison sentence after Bouker gives him credit for the time he's already served waiting trial.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Snavely pleaded no contest three times to the three charges remaining against him -- two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child and a single count of criminal sodomy.

Regardless of how his criminal history turns out, the plea agreement calls for 188 months in prison.

If his criminal history proves to be as the attorneys expect, the agreement calls for Snavely to be sentenced to 94 months on the first count, with subsequent sentencings of 59 months and 35 months, for a total of 188 months.

If Snavely's criminal history is different than expected, attorneys expect to request either upward or downward departure -- depending on what's found in his background -- to reach the 188-month threshold.

The remaining 11 counts will be dismissed, and Drees will be barred from filing additional charges in the case.

Although Snavely was defiant at the start of the hearing, he ended laughing and talking with attorneys and Bouker. Breaking with tradition, Snavely didn't stand when Bouker entered the courtroom, shaking his head when attorney John Herman told him to stand up.

At his preliminary hearing, Snavely forced Bouker to read the entire complaint pending against him at the time, rather than waiving the reading.

Snavely at first didn't respond to Bouker's questioning Monday, but soon started answering questions, although he frequently conferred with one of his attorneys.

In response to Bouker's routine questions leading to the acceptance of his plea, Snavely denied suffering from any mental health issues, although he spent considerable time detailing other drugs he takes for physical ailments.