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Snelson to apply for change of venue

Lawyers representing Neil Snelson will bring forward an application to change the venue of his upcoming manslaughter trial when counsel reconvenes next month at the Kelowna Courthouse.

Snelson was convicted of manslaughter in 2011 and sentenced to 15 years in prison for what a jury believed was his part in the killing of Jennifer Cusworth in 1993. He successfully appealed for a new trial and won a unanimous decision late last year.

He had originally been on trial for first-degree murder after new DNA evidence was found in 2009, but a jury could not reach a verdict and instead convicted him of manslaughter after two days of deliberations.

Cusworth's body was found in a ditch on Oct. 17, 1993 in a rural part of Kelowna. She had been beaten and strangled.

Two days earlier, Cusworth attended a house party with about 200 other people. She left at one point during the night and was never seen alive again.

When confronted with the new DNA evidence, Snelson acknowledged he must have had sex with Cusworth the night of the party, but denied killing her.

Jean Cusworth, Jennifer’s mother, and other family members in attendance today were taken by surprise, believing instead they would find out where and when the trial would take place.

They have heard rumours that counsel for Snelson would like the trial moved to either Kamloops or Vancouver. 

Jean says in her opinion, prosecutors will have a difficult time finding an impartial jury in Kelowna.

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