A clearer picture of the Kelowna man standing trial for the 1993 murder of Jennifer Cusworth is starting to emerge.
Jurors were offered a view of Neil Snelson interacting with his wife days after he was arrested earlier this week, through hours of footage shot in an RCMP interview room on Oct. 24, 2009.
As the black and white recording starts, Snelson and his wife unite, hug each other and cry.
It’s an emotional display that Snelson later tells Sgt. Peter Tewfik, who is also in the room, he isn’t prone to.
“I’m a writer,” he said. “Everything comes out that way…through music and poetry.”
As he and his wife separate and compose themselves, Brandie starts to explain how their four children were digesting the changes they were facing.
“I told them you were arrested for taking the life of another person,” she said.
Already, she said, the four children were suffering and exploring a full gamut of emotions in different ways.
One was bawling, a second had gone silent and another kept blurting out, “my dad is in jail.”
“They’re very worried and very scared,” she said, telling Snelson he’s a good dad.
“They love you very, very, very, very, very, very much and they always will because you’re their dad.”
In time, his wife leaves and Snelson tells Tewfik how important it was to have that time.
“Just to talk to her and hear her voice and understand that the kids are OK…(it’s) so important to hear,” he said.
Tewfik and Snelson then start to speak about religion, in what Snelson identifies as a round-about means to get him to speak about the charge against him—something he has refused to do based on the advice of legal counsel.
Snelson had been part of the praise team, leading the Lurtheran congregation in song, for several years.
He started with the church after he learned they needed a bass player.
“Brandie and I were looking for somewhere to land,” he explained, noting his wife was Catholic and he’s Protestant.
The new church, he said, “felt like going home.”
Snelson went on to explain that, although he’s religious, he considers himself a man of faith, that grew as he got older.
“I’m a believer. Jesus Christ has been accepted into my life as my saviour,” he said, adding he’s also flawed.
That eventually led him into a conversation about his history.
“I grew up in Rutland,” he said, adding that it’s the “Surrey” of Kelowna.
“A lot of kids I grew up with…you saw a police car and you ran.”
However, he said he had respect for authorities, as various family members were engaged in jobs of that sort.