READING, Pa. - A Berks County woman was ordered to stand trial on murder charges in the hanging deaths of two of her children.
Lisa Snyder appeared before Magisterial District Judge Kim Bagenstose at the Berks County Courthouse in downtown Reading for her preliminary hearing on Wednesday.
The hearing for the high-profile case was held there rather than at Bagenstose's office in Hamburg because of heightened security that resulted from online death threats made against Snyder, officials said.
Those entering the courtroom, including WFMZ's Jim Vasil and Holly Harrar, were screened by security staff and forced to surrender their cell phones to sheriff's deputies.
Snyder stands accused by state police of killing her 8-year-old son, Conner, and her 4-year-old daughter, Brinley, by hanging them with a dog lead from the basement ceiling of the family's home in Albany Township on Sept. 23.
Snyder, who was arrested Dec. 2, initially placed blame on Conner, saying that he was being bullied in school, wanted to commit suicide, and didn't want to die alone, according to investigators, who said they have found no evidence to support that claim.
Several family members were called to testify Wednesday morning about the validity of Snyder's bullying claim.
Also testifying was a Pennsylvania State Police trooper, who became emotional when asked to identify Conner and Brinley in a photo he was shown on the witness stand.
After hearing approximately four hours of testimony and reviewing the evidence presented by prosecutors, the judge decided to order Snyder to stand trial on two counts each of first- and third-degree murder as well as two felony charges of endangering the welfare of children.
Her formal arraignment is set for March 12. Prosecutors must let the court know by then whether they plan to seek the death penalty in the event Snyder is convicted of first-degree murder.