VALLEY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - A landlord now faces a murder charge in the death of a man found shot in an Allegan County home earlier this month.
Jody Snyder, 37, was found dead in the living room of a Valley Township rented home on March 9. According to court documents, he had been shot twice in the head with a gun police say they found in landlord Marion Conley's home.
"I was informed by several witnesses that the landlord was very upset with the victim and that he had threatened to kill him over damage done to the residence," Allegan County Sheriff's Detective Chris Haverdink testified in a Wednesday probable cause hearing..
Conley, 79, was arrested Wednesday and arraigned Thursday on charges of open murder, felony firearms and a new charge of resisting and obstructing a police officer.
The resisting and obstructing charge stems from an incident that allegedly happened when police questioned Conley.
"As we were talking Mr. Conley lunged towards me and and struck me in the face right below my left eye," said Haverdink.
Authorities said a comment Conley made to his wife may have hinted at his involvement.
"He made statements to her that if anybody asks you about my gun you didn't see it," Haverdink said.
But Conley's wife, who sat silently during Thursday's arraignment, did more than talk about the .22 handgun that Conley denied owning. She told police where they could find it.
"Melva Conley, the wife of Mr. Conley, said that her husband did have a handgun that he kept in a case near his lazy boy chair in the living room of his Otsego home," Haverdink testified.
Melva Conley declined to comment to 24 Hour News 8 Thursday. She said she needs a lawyer.
"We told them from the get-go it was Marion his landlord," said Travis Snyder, Jody's nephew, after the hearing.
Travis Snyder said there had been frequent fights between his uncle and Conley about the damage to the house Jody Snyder was renting from Conley.
"I was there to listen to all of the fights. I know he threatened to kill him several times in that week," said Snyder.
The family found a funeral for Jody Snyder too expensive. Now, Travis Snyder said, justice is the only way his uncle can rest in peace.
"He was more than my uncle. He was my best friend," said Travis Snyder. "He took him from me and they are just lucky they got to him before me."
On the day after Snyder was found dead, Conley told 24 Hour News 8 he had already been brought in for questioning but was released.
"I'd like to know what went on because they accusing me of it. I'd like to know what's going on," he said at the time.
Conley told 24 Hour News 8 Snyder had recently lost his job and he felt sorry for him. And though the rented house became gradually trashed and dented, and Conley noted sometimes Snyder acted peculiar, overall, he thought the victim was a nice guy going through a tough time.
"Yeah, it bothers me, sure. Sure, it bothers me," he said.
Conley remains lodged in the Allegan County Jail on $750,000 bond.
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