The season premiere of the hit show ‘Nightmare next Door’ on the Investigation Discovery channel Friday night features a 1990 rape and killing of a Rock Hill woman, and her family’s fight to keep the killer in prison.
The show features Andrew Dys, columnist for The Herald, who was the first person to report that convicted killer Edward Cronell was up for parole in the brutal sexual assault and shooting death of Melinda Snyder because of an old South Carolina law – since changed – that allowed people with life sentences convicted in the 1990s and before to seek parole after 20 years in prison.
Cronell, now 51, sentenced to life plus 30 years after he was convicted of murder, rape and burglary, was denied parole in 2014 and is up again later this month. Cronell faces an uphill battle for parole, as he not only refused to express remorse in 2014 when he asked for release but was caught in prison with a smuggled cellphone and on social media in 2015.
The documentary is called “The Key to Murder” and shows how the South Carolina Supreme Court forced suspect Edward Cronell to give DNA evidence led to his conviction for the crimes against Melinda Snyder. A Winthrop University graduate and teacher, Snyder was sexually assaulted then shot inside the home she rented just days before she was set to move in 1990.
Cronell was a real estate agent with access to the home whose DNA in the early days of the scientific breakthrough in forensics linked him to the crime. Yet it took four years of legal wrangling to take the case to trial after the state Supreme Court forced Cronell to give a DNA sample.
The show interviewed several of the other key players in the conviction of Cronell and the ongoing parole battle, including York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant, who investigated the murder while a State Law Enforcement Division agent, Snyder family lawyer Jim Morton, and Jerry Snyder, Melinda Snyder’s father.
The show airs at 10 p.m. Friday on the Investigation Discovery channel, which for Rock Hill-area viewers is shown on Comporium cable Channel 153.