William B. Black, 29, recently accepted a plea deal which will see him spend more than the next 30 years behind bars, after a late-February shooting in Suquamish which left one man dead.
According to documents filed on Nov. 15, Black pleaded guilty to one charge of first-degree murder for the Feb. 22 shooting death of Trent Snyder, as part of a plea agreement which would recommend a sentence of 338 months. Despite the recommendation, on Dec. 13 Judge Kevin Hull cited Black’s lengthy history of criminal convictions — which should have precluded him from owning the firearm he used to kill Snyder, had he followed the court’s orders — before tacking on an additional 22 months to the sentence.
According to a statement of probable cause, on Feb. 22 Black had become upset after reading conversations between his girlfriend and Snyder on the woman’s phone. Both Black and Snyder have fathered children with the woman and the three had even shared a meal together earlier in the day, accompanied by their children. Hoping to resolve the conflict, the woman reportedly invited Snyder over to the residence in Suquamish in order to talk things over.
“William knew Trent was coming over and went into the garage where he stores his clothing in a dresser,” the statement reads. “He returns into the house and is wearing different clothing … William then goes outside on the front deck to drink a beer.”
“[The woman] sees Trent’s blue Lexus passenger vehicle pass by her house … she then sees William running from the front porch.”
After watching Black run from the porch, the woman reported to investigators that she heard gunfire. Exiting the house, she called out to Snyder, telling him to leave. Snyder was out of the vehicle as Black continued his approach. The woman reportedly heard another gunshot. Snyder was shot through the driver’s side window and door, the report says. When law enforcement arrived at the scene, officers found Snyder, unresponsive inside the vehicle, bleeding from the mouth. Medics arrived at 9:52 p.m. and attempted life-saving efforts but they were ultimately unsuccessful and Snyder was pronounced dead. After the shooting Black fled the scene and was later apprehended in Kingston.
In victim impact statements, Snyder’s family and friends remembered him as a caring and dedicated father who had an infectious laugh and an innate ability to bring joy and laughter to those around him.
“I know that [Black] is not inherently evil,” wrote one of Snyder’s childhood friends. “This is evident by the love he had shown towards his and Trent’s children, before taking both of their fathers away.”
“His decision that day, almost a year ago, will send ripples through our community for years.”