Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin said Friday he would seek the death penalty for David Rapoport, the married veterinarian who has been charged with shooting his girlfriend, Jennifer Snyder, and their unborn child to death in March.
As his mother, Nancy Rapoport, sat quietly sobbing for the duration of the proceeding, David Rapoport pleaded not guilty at his formal arraignment before Judge Robert L. Steinberg.
Steinberg read the two charges which include criminal homicide of Snyder, the veterinary technician with whom he worked for several years, with a 9mm handgun in the head and back.
This charge warrants the death penalty, Steinberg said.
The second charge is criminal homicide of an unborn child.
The charges are aggravated by two things, Steinberg said: Rapoport allegedly killed more than one person, and that Snyder was definitely pregnant and Rapoport knew she was pregnant.
Steinberg outlined a litany of deadlines of which Rapoport and his lawyers, John Waldron of Allentown and Jake Griffin of Philadelphia, must be aware.
The somber Rapoport, who Griffin said was "not doing well," kept his eyes cast down. He said he understood the charges before pleading "not guilty."
The next step is a pretrial hearing at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 29, Steinberg said.
The judge also set a tentative pretrial date of 9:30 a.m. Sept. 19.
Snyder's family also attended, keeping quietly knit together. They gave no comment, but all wore purple ribbons as they did at the court session when Rapoport waived his preliminary hearing on May 12.
Rapoport, 30, of Upper Gwynedd Township, most recently practiced in Harleysville. He was arrested March 22 and is charged with killing Snyder, 27. Snyder was a veterinary technician who worked and lived at Maple Hills Veterinary Hospital along Kressler Road in Lower Macungie Township. The two met when Rapoport worked there as well.
The two had a relationship for about three years, and Rapoport, who has been married for about six years, did not take well the news that Snyder was pregnant with his baby, according to court documents.
State police released a missing person's alert regarding Snyder on March 17. The bulletin listed her as "endangered." She was last seen about 11:30 a.m. the day before, police said.
A body was found March 18 in a wooded area near Trexler Nature Preserve in North Whitehall Township and later identified as Snyder's, police have said.
Court records reveal investigators' allegations as follows:
Rapoport texted Snyder to meet him at a "surprise" location on March 16. A surveillance camera showed Snyder and Rapoport together on that date at Sam's Bagel and Deli, 4041 Route 309 in North Whitehall.
Rapoport allegedly shot Snyder in her vehicle that same night, wrapped her in a blanket, poured bleach on it, wrapped her in garbage bags and sealed it with duct tape. He then dumped her body near the nature preserve.
Snyder's vehicle was found March 17 in a rear parking lot of a professional building about two miles from where her body would eventually be found, police have said.
Court records also have said Rapoport purchased a 9-mm handgun on March 11 and he bought cleaning supplies hours before meeting Snyder on March 16. Ballistics tests matched the casings found in Snyder's vehicle and near her body to the gun of Rapoport.
Rapoport has been held in Lehigh County Prison without bail.