MASSENA — Local court documents show the man charged with the murder of a SUNY Potsdam student over the weekend doesn’t have much of a criminal history.
Michael J. Snow, a 31-year-old Massena resident, is jailed for second-degree murder. He is accused of shooting and killing 21-year-old Elizabeth M. Howell on Friday night on College Park Road in Potsdam, near SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music.
Snow waived his right to a preliminary hearing, according to St. Lawrence County Public Defender James M. McGahan. He believes the next step in the case will be for the district attorney to decide whether the case should go to a grand jury for an indictment.
Along with several traffic citations that were ultimately dismissed, court documents from Massena show that Snow was charged with drunk driving, a misdemeanor and consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle on April 4, 2019. On June 25, 2019, Snow pleaded guilty to driving. while his capacity was impaired and paid a fine of $300 with an additional $260. The plea satisfied eight counts of trafficking as well as the April 4, 2019 DWI.
St. Lawrence County District Attorney Gary M. Pasqua said he was “not aware of any other convictions in St. Lawrence County” that Snow has.
Franklin County Acting District Attorney Jonathan J. Miller said a search of Franklin County electronic records for any arrests or convictions turned up nothing.
Snow’s 2019 DWI arrest came three days after his mother, Paula N. Snow, “passed away unexpectedly,” according to her obituary.
Snow previously resided at 50 Park Ave. in Massena, a house belonging to his late mother. As of Tuesday morning, it did not appear that the police had searched the house. There was snow piled up in the driveway and there were no tire tracks. The snow piled up at the front door also had no footprints.
After his mother’s death, Snow was named administrator and beneficiary of her estate by the St. Lawrence County Surrogate Court.
According to a foreclosure action filed in the state Supreme Court in December 2020, the provider of the mortgage for the Park Avenue property claimed that it stopped receiving mortgage payments in June 2020, causing the foreclosure of property, naming Snow as the primary defendant.
Court documents show that Snow never participated in the action, his only apparent contact with the court being through a phone call to Supreme Court Justice Mary M. Farley’s office on December 3, during which he asked to be removed as administrator of his mother’s estate. . He was told he would have to accomplish this through a new substitute court order. He also told the court that he had moved to 250 Main Street.
On February 7, Judge Farley ruled that Snow was in default in the action and ordered that an arbitrator be appointed to determine the amount owed to the mortgage lender and that the terms of the pending foreclosure sale be submitted to the court. .