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John Snorsky Judge to Child Kidnapper: "You Are the Bogeyman"

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In October 2013, we told you about a massive search for a child kidnapper and the subsequent arrest of John Snorsky, whose friends insisted he was innocent.

Snorsky, who had previously told a Westword reporter about his time in prison and difficult childhood, eventually pleaded guilty in the case. But at his sentencing, he reportedly complained about his portrayal in the media. To that, the judge in the case had an answer: "You are the bogeyman." Photos, videos and details below.

See also: John Snorsky, Alleged Child Kidnapper, on His Abusive Childhood, Time Spent in Prison, published November 2013

At about 12:15 a.m. on October 28, 2013, as we've reported, Aurora police officers were dispatched to a home on the 1600 block of Hanover Street.

There, officers believed, a man removed a screen and opened an unlocked window of a bedroom occupied by an eight-year-old girl. He was then thought to have reached inside, grabbed the girl and pulled her into the alley behind the structure.

At that point, the girl screamed, alerting her father. He responded by running out of the residence just as his daughter was sprinting back to the house -- and in the alley, he saw a man drive away in what was originally described as a silver or gray BMW, but was subsequently ID'd a Mercedes pictured on Snorsky's Facebook page:

Before long, Aurora police held a news conference to announce a $10,000 reward in the case -- the largest ever offered by that department. Then, in succeeding days, that dollar amount was doubled to $20,000. Turns out, though, that Snorsky was already in custody for a parole hold based on what 7News described as a false report on a pawn broker.

Snorsky's Facebook page, which remains online at this writing, is filled with beefcake images of himself, including this one....

...and this one.... ...and this one: In addition, there are plenty of shots featuring his artwork, including several by Sampson Leung Photography of an event at Casselman's called "Satan's Castle" late last year. Here's one screen capture.... ...and another one: There was even a link to a Westword slide show of a zombie-crawl party, with Snorsky seen in a eerie image by photographer Eric Gruneisen reproduced above.

The zombie photo was the last Snorsky shared on the page, owing to his incarceration. However, quite a few posts popped up in succeeding days, many from friends insisting that he couldn't have committed the crimes of which he'd been accused.

Continue for more about the sentencing of John Snorsky, including more photos and video. Among other things, supporters pointed to Snorsky's YouTube channel, on which he talked about starting a foundation to help at-risk kids and his interest in being a role model for them. Here's a 7News report from 2013 incorporating that information.

Snorsky focused on similar themes during a conversation with Westword's Melanie Asmar that preceded the arrest; the chat was prompted by a feature article about abused kids being placed with juvenile offenders. Here's an excerpt from her November 2013 post:

Snorsky, who's 26, said he was born on Christmas Eve to a father who immigrated from the Soviet Union and a mother who was "mentally unstable." All his life, he said he'd been told the same story: that his father shot his mother during an attempt to take Snorsky and his siblings away from her. She survived and proceeded to move the family from state to state -- without their father, who Snorsky said he never knew much about.

But she wasn't a good parent, either, he said. According to Snorsky, she beat him, stabbed him, burned him, tried to drown him in the bathtub, and made him confess to things he hadn't done -- things she knew would elicit more beatings from Snorsky's brother. Knowing that Snorsky took pride in his hair, his mother once shaved it off with a Bic razor as punishment for drinking his brother's chocolate milk, he said, even though she'd actually drunk the milk herself.

"When she was beating me, I'd never cry out," Snorsky said. Instead, he said he'd pretend he was dead. Although social workers intervened, he said, he ended up back in her care.

When he was eleven, the family moved to Aurora, and Snorsky said he ran away soon thereafter. Along with a friend and the friend's older brother, Snorsky told me he slept in abandoned buildings and ate out of dumpsters. He and his friends broke into cars to steal money and eventually became errand boys for the neighborhood crack dealers, he said.

Shortly after his twelfth birthday, a friend called the cops and told them about Snorsky's situation, and he said he was put in a group home for "abused and abandoned" children. But Snorsky said he knew that the chances he'd be taken in by a new family were slim, so he escaped and hopped a freight train in Golden. "I had a backpack full of energy bars, bananas, water and military boots stolen from Goodwill," he told me.

For the next two years, Snorsky said he hitchhiked around. At night, he crashed with family members, in strangers' hotel rooms, in laundromats and in what he described as an old "Scooby Doo van." He stole things and then sold them to survive, which is how he eventually got arrested again, he said. The cops shipped him back to Colorado.

He said he ended up at Jefferson Hills, a residential treatment center for at-risk kids in Aurora. There, he said, some older boys abused him. At age fourteen, he was paroled and proceeded to bounce from foster home to foster home. "When boys are abused, we can't just cry and break down and tell everybody what happened," Snorsky told me. "They'll say, 'You're a pussy.' We internalize it and it comes out as anger."

Since then, Snorsky's case has taken some strange turns. As noted by 7News, he pleaded guilty in the case this past September, but before he could receive the agreed-upon thirty-year sentence, he asked to change his plea and fire his attorneys. When the district attorney's office made it clear no new deal was in the offing, Snorsky backed off, but at the sentencing hearing, he suggested that he'd gotten a raw deal in the press.

"From the beginning of this case, this case has been completely controlled by what the prosecution and the detectives would like to portray in the media, okay?" he's quoted as saying. "If I wanted that girl, I would have took her, sir. And I would have really took her. There was no one there to stop me. I let her go because I did not want her."

Judge Thomas Ensor didn't respond with much sympathy. Among his comments: "You're a smart guy, but you're clearly full of yourself, too. You have a very dark side. You are the bogeyman. You are the bump in the night."

Here's the brief 7News report about Snorsky's sentencing.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

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