OTTUMWA — Bobby Snow will spend up to 50 years in prison for the 2011 death of James McElroy.
Snow, who was convicted of second-degree murder for striking and killing McElroy, must serve at least 35 years of the sentence before being eligible for parole. Judge Lucy Gamon’s sentence was the maximum allowed under Iowa law.
Carmen McElroy, the victim’s wife, spoke on behalf of the family. She told the court her husband loved his family and “was taken away from us by one punch” and asked the court not to lose sight of his death in sentencing Snow.
“What about James?” she asked.
Snow tried to speak despite the fact McElroy was not finished. Gamon, clearly annoyed, cut him off.
“Sir, this is not your time to talk. I want you to be quiet,” she ordered.
Snow stopped talking but was clearly agitated by the exchange. He sat at the defense table, leg tapping rapidly. When Gamon later asked the attorneys if either of them had anything to say, Snow raised his hand but was ignored.
People convicted of a crime do have the right to speak at sentencing. When given permission to address the court, Snow apologized for James McElroy’s death. But he also tried to shift the blame, insisting he struck McElroy to defend himself.
“If you’re attacked, what do you do?” he said. “I acted in self-defense.”
Snow also claimed a long list of grievances, saying he went too long without an attorney, that he was lied to by a judge. After several minutes, Gamon again cut him off.
“Mr. Snow, do you have anything further to say about your sentence?” she asked.
“This is about my sentence,” Snow replied.
Snow finished soon after the exchange but again said McElroy bore some blame: “I still don’t know why that guy did what he did.”