ELYRIA — The man police have said shot and killed 19-year-old Cody Snyder will spend the next 24 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges in connection with the slaying.
Kajaun Anderson, 19, of Elyria, pleaded guilty to an amended indictment of charges of involuntary manslaughter, aggravated robbery and tampering with evidence. Anderson was originally indicted on charges of aggravated murder, murder, aggravated robbery, robbery and tampering with evidence.
Many of the charges also included gun specifications that would result in mandatory sentences if convicted. Anderson could have been sentenced to life in prison if convicted on the aggravated murder charge.
Instead, the plea agreement stipulated a 24-year flat-time sentence in which he is not eligible for judicial release or parole. He also gave up any appeal rights with the plea agreement.
The plea agreement originally was for voluntary manslaughter, but while going over the plea agreement with Anderson in open court, visiting Judge Robert Brown began speaking of involuntary manslaughter, rather than voluntary manslaughter.
When a prosecutor pointed out the mistake, Brown spoke with counsel and then addressed the issue.
“Mr. Anderson, there was some confusion on whether it was voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter,” Brown said. “They’re both felony ones. It’s not going to affect the sentence, but the court advised counsel that it would like a plea to involuntary manslaughter.”
Police have said Snyder was killed in a drug deal gone bad in Elyria on Jan. 23.
Police have said Jeffrey Miraldi, 21, of Elyria, drove a 2014 Ford Focus to Clinton Avenue, with Jenna Turner, 19, of Middleburg Heights, and Snyder as passengers, to the alleged drug deal. The three planned to sell a half pound of marijuana to Qwanda Woodson, 17, of Elyria, and Justin Smith, 18, of Oberlin, for $1,400, police said.
Smith and Woodson allegedly planned to rob Miraldi, Snyder and Turner with the help of Anderson, police said. While the transaction was taking place, Anderson allegedly opened the back door of the vehicle and pointed a gun inside. A confrontation ensued, and Anderson shot Snyder in the chest, police said.
Miraldi drove Snyder to University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center, where Snyder died from his injuries, police said.
In addition to the gun police said Anderson used to shoot Snyder, there was another gun at the scene of the shooting, one acquired by Miraldi, according to police. One of Miraldi’s tampering with evidence charges stemmed from him disposing of the firearm after Snyder died, police said.
The car Miraldi was driving during the incident was registered to his father, Lorain County Common Pleas Court Judge John Miraldi.
The elder Miraldi is not under investigation, but his son’s involvement prompted a call for a special prosecutor to handle the case as well as a visiting judge. Brown is retired from the bench in Wayne County.
Anderson addressed Snyder’s family prior to being sentenced by Brown.
“I’d like to say I’m sorry to Cody Snyder’s family, and I hope you can forgive me in your heart one day,” Anderson said. “I truly mean that. To my family, I love you all and I’m sorry I put you all through this.”
Snyder’s aunt, Georgia Snyder, was the only member of Snyder’s family to speak. She addressed her comments directly to Anderson.
“You are a murderer. As you pulled that trigger, you had no respect for my nephew’s life,” she said. “You played god, and when you stand before God, you will get the just sentence. When you sit in your cell at night I pray my nephew’s face will be continuously implanted in your mind.”
In September, Jeffrey Miraldi pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, trafficking in drugs, multiple counts of tampering with evidence, possession of drugs and permitting drug abuse. At the same time, Turner pleaded guilty to three counts of tampering with evidence.
Woodson and Smith pleaded guilty to charges in connection with the case in July and have agreed to turn state’s evidence against Anderson.
Jeffrey Miraldi, Turner, Woodson and Smith are awaiting sentencing in their cases.
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