Jury selection continues for north Iowa murder trial

MASON CITY, Iowa – The murder trial for Michael Cisneros begins Monday. Cisneros, 38, was arrested in July of last year and is accused of killing John Snyder Jr.

20-month-old, Snyder Jr. went missing in 1994 and was found a day later dead along Willow Creek in Mason City.

In 2013, police say a DNA match of Cisneros in the new CODIS system matched DNA found on the clothes of Snyder Jr. at the time of his death.

In the pre-trial hearing, the defense believes to have their doubts about the CODIS system, but those with the state believe that this information is crucial in the case.

“It has to be somebody convicted of a felony that’s put in the database. So the states understanding is that the state would agree that we can mention there was a match in CODIS because the defendant had a prior felony. We’re not going to mention what the felony was. If the defense wants to, that’s up to them,” said Assistant Iowa Attorney General, Douglas Hammerand.

According to the defense, the CODIS system may be the only main thing believed to be linking Cisneros to Snyder Jr. The defense explains how they believe he should be referred to as Mr. Cisneros rather than suspect.

The focus would then turn to John Snyder Senior and how to refer to the man once believed to be the father of Snyder Jr.

“I think we’re going to find out during the course of the trial, that the state believes that Mr. Snyder was a part of the death of his own child, or the child he believed was his,” said Defense Attorney, Letitia Turner

“For the defense to say that we can’t refer to him as the father because he is not the biological dad, doesn’t mean that he wasn’t the father or the person who raised “Little John” up until he was 20 months,” said Hammerand.

The jury would join shortly after, so no decision was made, but with Snyder Senior expected to testify, he may be referred to as “caretaker” of the 20 month old child, rather than parent.

One of the main concerns of the defense was also the amount of media attention that a cold case would have. When asked about whether or not they’ve heard about the case, almost all of the 32 potential jurors rose their hands.

The jury has still not been seated, but will continue into Tuesday. Once that’s complete, the trial will move to the Cerro Gordo County Law Enforcement Center.

We have no word yet on any decision on the pre-trial motions.

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