Man sentenced to prison for trying to disarm trooper following traffic stop

Fifth District Courthouse, Cedar City, Utah, April 15, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — An Ohio man who pleaded guilty to disarming a police officer and failing to heed police commands has been sentenced to at least five years in prison.

James Edward Snow, 39, was sentenced in 5th District Court Monday by Judge Matthew L. Bell, who ordered Snow to serve a five-year minimum sentence on the first-degree felony disarming charge and another 0-5 years for failing to stop at an officer’s command, a third-degree felony.

Although Snow had, through his attorney Jeffery Slack, asked the court to allow the two sentences to run concurrently, Bell ordered that they be served consecutively.

Monday’s hearing was conducted via online videoconference, with Snow appearing from Iron County Jail, where he has been incarcerated since mid-January.

Snow’s co-defendant Korie Jo Wolfe, 37, who had earlier pleaded guilty to the same two charges, received the same sentence from Bell in April. 

As previously reported in Cedar City News, Snow and Wolfe were both arrested following a high-speed car chase on Interstate 15 the morning of Jan. 14. 

At the Utah Highway Patrol offices in Cedar City later that afternoon, Wolfe then attempted to grab the service weapon of UHP Trooper Preston Holgreen as he was typing up a report, Holgreen’s body cam footage shows. To watch the tense moments on video, click on the link to the story detailing Wolfe’s sentencing.

James Edward Snow, 39, appears in 5th District Court via video link from Iron County Jail, Cedar City, Utah, May 24, 2021 | Screenshot image courtesy of 5th District Court via WebEx, St. George News / Cedar City News

Although neither Wolfe nor Snow was able to successfully take the gun away from Holgreen, the charge is the same under Utah law as if they had done so.

Prior to Monday’s sentencing, Slack had asked for leniency in the case, saying that Snow was still coming out of a drug-induced stupor when the incident unfolded.

“How I would distinguish Mr. Snow from his co-defendant was that he was just in essence, protecting (her),” Slack said during the hearing. “After she caused the stir, he kind of felt like he was in a place where all he could do is protect her. And this is him thinking back, kind of through that haze.”

Snow himself also briefly addressed the court, saying he was caught off guard by Wolfe’s actions.

“I was surprised to see her do some crazy stuff like that,” he said.

Nevertheless, he said, “I weren’t trying to be the aggressor so much as a de-escalator. That was taken wrong, out of context. 

“You got two criminals coming at you, I could see where it looks a little,” Snow said but didn’t finish the sentence.

Prosecutor Shane Klenk then argued that Snow’s actions during the incident were “similarly egregious and dangerous” as those of his co-defendant.

“He encouraged Miss Wolfe to take Trooper Holgreen’s gun and he fought with Trooper Holgreen after multiple commands to stand down. He said, ‘Get it, Korie, get it!’ referring to Trooper Holgreen’s firearm,” Klenk added.

Additionally, Klenk cited Snow’s criminal history and pattern of antisocial behavior, noting that Snow’s record includes at least four prior stints in prison.

The court then agreed the with prosecutors’ recommendations, with Bell handing down a sentence for Snow that was identical to the one he’d imposed in Wolfe’s case a little over a month ago.

“The violent actions that took place against the trooper afterwards are inexcusable, regardless of drug or inhalant use, and these crimes warrant severe punishment,” Bell said at the conclusion of Snow’s sentencing hearing.

“I hope you’ll get some treatment while you’re there, Mr. Snow. I know that’s a severe sentence, but it is warranted. It’s for severe actions,” Bell said, adding he is grateful that the outcome wasn’t worse.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!