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Nampa Man Pleads Guilty to First-Degree Murder, Not Guilty to Federal Hate Crime

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- Kelly Schneider, 23, of Nampa, has been charged with a federal hate crime. -  - CANYON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Canyon County Sheriff's Office
  • Kelly Schneider, 23, of Nampa, has been charged with a federal hate crime.
Updated Post Tuesday, Jan. 24, 4 p.m.:
Kelly Schneider pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in state court on Jan. 23. Today, in district court, Schneider pleaded not guilty to the charge of a hate crime, a federal offense.

Schneider's trial on the hate crime charge is set for March. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison, up to five years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.

Original Post Monday, Jan. 23, 5:23 p.m.:
A Nampa man has been transferred to federal custody and charged with a hate crime for the assault of Steven Nelson, a gay man who died following an attack last spring.

Kelly Schneider, 23, faces a federal hate crime charge in the April 2016 death of Nelson, 49, who was allegedly lured by Schneider, Jayson C. Woods, Daniel A. Henkel and Kevin R. Tracy to a site near Lake Lowell with a promise of sex for money. There, Nelson was robbed, stripped and beaten. Though Nelson ultimately died as a result of his injuries, he was able to describe his assailants to law enforcement. Prosecutors said the men targeted Nelson for being gay.

Schneider was indicted Jan. 10 by a federal grand jury in Boise. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison, supervised release of up to five years and a $250,000 fine. He faces charges of first degree murder in state court.

The investigation into the attack was conducted by the Canyon County Sheriff's Office and Treasure Valley Violent Crime Task Force. The investigation into federal charges was conducted by the FBI.

Nelson was a Boise State University employee and local actor whose murder provoked outcry from LGBT advocates across the state. It also drew attention to Idaho's glaring lack of legal protections for LGBT people. In the Gem State, no law prohibits employment, public accommodations or housing discrimination against people based on their gender identity or sexual orientation, nor does its malicious harassment law does cover crimes motivated by victims' LGBT status.

Schneider is due to be arraigned in Boise on Tuesday, Jan. 24, after which a trial date will be set.


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