Sentenced Commuted for David Sneed in Ohio

David Sneed, Ohio

Updated: Friday, February 18, 2022

On January 31, 2022, Ohio death row inmate David Sneed was resentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole by the Stark County Court of Common Pleas.  His sentence was reduced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after the court ruled that a “preponderance of evidence” showed that Sneed had a serious mental illness, schizoaffective disorder, at the time of the crime.  It is against the law in Ohio to execute a person who has been declared mentally ill at the time of their crime.

November 9, 2020

David SneedDavid Allen Sneed was scheduled to be executed at 10 am local time on Wednesday, December 9, 2020, at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility near Mansfield, Ohio. His execution has been rescheduled to April 19, 2023. Fifty-eight-year-old David is convicted of the murder of 26-year-old Herbert Rowan on November 19, 1984, in Canton, Ohio. David has spent the last 34 years on death row in Ohio.

David was raised in poverty and often neglected by his parents. His mother spent time in prison for abandoning her children and David’s father was a chronic alcoholic who also abused drugs. David also had a history of encounters with the police, beginning at a young age.

Nineteen-year-old Chevette Brown worked as a prostitute for David Sneed, her pimp. On November 19, 1984, Herbert Rowan, from Chicago, was driving around during the early morning hours. At Sneed’s prompting, Chevette stopped Herbert, eventually persuading Herbert to give Chevette and Sneed a ride.

Instead of giving directions to Sneed’s home, Sneed directed Herbert to a deserted alleyway, where he demanded Herbert hand over all his money and jewelry. Herbert refused and Sneed shot him in the head. Sneed then got into the driver’s seat and drove to another deserted alleyway, where he demanded Chevette shoot Herbert in the head.

After Chevette also shot Herbert, the two drove to Sneed’s home, retrieved a garment bag, cords, and cement block. Herbert’s body was placed in the garment bag and the cement block was tied to it. Along with Sneed’s brother, they drove to a bridge, where they threw the body over. However, the body missed the water and landed on the river bank, where it was found later in the morning.

Chevette and Sneed were both arrested and charged. Chevette eventually pled guilty and accepted a deal to be spared from the death penalty. She was instead sentenced to life in prison.

Sneed was initially found incompetent to stand trial, which resulted in his trial being postponed for a year, until his competency was restored through drug treatment. Both Chevette and Sneed’s brother testified against him. Sneed was convicted and sentenced to death.

Governor Mike DeWine has issued Sneed a reprieve, rescheduling his execution for April 19, 2023. Multiple executions this year have been rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, Ohio has struggled to find suppliers for the execution drugs. More information regarding Ohio’s execution problems can be found here.  

Pray for peace and healing for the family of Herbert Rowan. Pray for strength for the family of David Sneed. Please pray that if David is innocent, lacks the mental competency to be executed, or should not be executed for any other reason, that evidence will be provided before his arrest. Pray that David may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

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