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Murder of Jerry Wilson by Herbert Snipes examined on Fear Thy Neighbor

Mugshot of Herbert Snipes
Herbert Snipes was sentenced to 23 years for the murder of neighbor Jerry Wilson. Pic credit: Danville Police Dept.

Fear Thy Neighbor is investigating the murder of Jerry Franklin Wilson, who was gunned down as he entered his home by his neighbor Herbert Snipes in Danville, Virginia, in 2017.

Snipes had been in dispute with the 61-year-old Wilson for several years over a boundary line separating their properties. He believed that the city authorities had illegally sold his part of his land to the neighboring property. Snipes’s complaint had even preceded Wilson moving to the property.

The two neighbors continuously argued, with Snipes accusing Wilson of regularly parking on his land. On July 26, 2017, Snipes called the cops to mediate their dispute; however, he was told it was a civil matter and that he should talk to someone at city hall.

On the same day, Snipes visited both city hall and the mayor’s office but could not get the help he desired. On his return home, Wilson stood on the sidewalk laughing and taunting him.

At this point, Snipes began pointing a firearm at his neighbor, who attempted to rush back into his house. As Wilson got just inside his front door, Snipes opened fire.

Snipes then phoned the cops and told them he’d shot somebody. When the police arrived, they found Wilson lying on his dining room floor; he was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. In the meantime, Snipes was handcuffed and taken into custody.

Herbert Snipes claimed he shot Jerry Wilson in self-defense

Snipes tried to argue that it was self-defense. He said that he believed Wilson was going to his house to get a gun. He also argued that he had been subjected to abuse and threats from his neighbor for years.

The police did find two firearms on Wilson’s property; however, there was no way to determine if he had been going to retrieve them. Ultimately, the police concluded that there was no immediate danger to Snipes and that the incident should be classed as deliberate murder.

Snipes had incriminated himself several months before the murder when on a visit to the City Attorney’s office, he’d asked how much time would he get if he killed his neighbor.

It turned out to be 23 years in prison. In September 2018, Snipes was 75-years-old when he was convicted of first-degree murder and use of a firearm in commission of murder and was given 23 years.

His 2019 appeal was rejected by the Court of Appeals of Virginia and the trial result affirmed.

More from Fear Thy Neighbor

Follow the links to read about more murders involving neighbors on Investigation Discovery.

Richard Gordon waited for Joseph Clifton to pull up in his truck and shot him three times with a semiautomatic pistol. Gordon then fled the scene leaving Clifton’s 2-year-old son in the back of the truck.

James Dellavecchia lay in wait for his neighbor, Scott Robbins, and when he appeared, he shot him dead; he also wounded Robbins’s stepdaughter Kirsten Snow and fired shots at his coworker.

Fear Thy Neighbor airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.

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