Tag Archives: Minnesota

Still No Charges for Thomas "TJ" Snow

27 Dec Clifford and Joyce Snow

by Ken Davidson

On October 21, Sheriff John Buncich held a press conference naming Thomas “TJ” Snow as the lead suspect in the death of beloved teacher Cliff Snow and his wife Joyce. The couple were found in their rural home on October 18, 2013 after a call for a welfare check from their out of state daughter. Officers reportedly discovered a grizzly scene upon arrival at the home. Later reports indicated that the couple were beaten and strangled but an official cause of death has yet to be announced. Thomas Snow was apprehended in Minnesota after a short police chase on October 18. Snow waived extradition to Indiana on October 22, 2013 and was transported to the Newton County Jail on December 11, 2013. Since that time, officials have been mum on details regarding the case. The Gazette has learned, however, that charges have yet to be filed in the matter. Snow has an unrelated warrant from Lake County which will hold him if he is released from Newton County. Snow would be eligible for bond on both charges absent filing of the murder charges.

The Lake County Sheriff still seeks information from anyone who may have had communication with Thomas J. Snow during the period October 4 through October 18, 2013. Anyone with such information should call the Lake County Sheriff at 219.755.3371


How Far Can City Codes Go in Regulating Your Property Rights?

21 Nov NIPSCO Exec Gave $1M to Bobby Rush Charity

Gazette Staff

Miami, Fla.—May the government prohibit you from peacefully and productively using your own property to feed your family?

That is the question the Institute for Justice (IJ) and a Miami Shores couple have taken to state court in their challenge to Miami Shores’ unconstitutional ban on front-yard vegetable gardens. The law prohibits homeowners from growing vegetables in their front yards, but trees, fruit, and garden gnomes are just fine. Homeowners who grow front-yard vegetable gardens face fines of $50 per day.

For 17 years, Hermine Ricketts and her husband Tom Carroll maintained a beautiful front-yard garden, where they grew vegetables for their own consumption, along with other plants. But in May 2013, Miami Shores’ Code Enforcement officers inspected Hermine and Tom’s property and informed the couple that they were engaging in an illegal activity: Growing vegetables in the front yard.

The city enacted the ban to protect the aesthetic character of Miami Shores Village. Yet it allows everything from trees and fruit to gnomes and flamingos in front yards. Just not vegetables. That sort of irrational distinction is unconstitutional.

“Miami Shores’ ban on front-yard vegetable gardens doesn’t make any sense. A yard does not become unsightly just because you can eat some of the things you grow there,” said IJ Attorney and lead counsel on the case, Ari Bargil.
The city threatened Hermine and Tom with fines of $50 a day, or about $1,500 per month, if they did not uproot the garden. Unable to bear the cost of such hefty fines, Hermine and Tom destroyed 17 years’ worth of passion and hard work.

“When our garden was in full production, we had no need to shop for produce. At least 80 percent of our meals were harvested fresh from our garden,” said Hermine. “This law crushes our freedom to grow our own healthy food. No one should have to expend time and energy dealing with such nonsense.”
The Florida Constitution protects the property rights of homeowners like Hermine and Tom, who want to use their property in a peaceful, productive manner without arbitrary intrusion by the government.

IJ’s challenge to Miami Shores’ front-yard vegetable garden ban is part of its new National Food Freedom Initiative. This nationwide campaign that will bring property rights, economic liberty and free speech challenges to laws that interfere with the ability of Americans to produce, market, procure and consume the foods of their choice. IJ is also challenging Oregon’s ban on advertising raw—or unpasteurized—milk and Minnesota’s severe restrictions on “cottage food” producers.

“Hermine and Tom are part of a nationwide movement of small-scale food producers and consumers who are tired of the government dictating what foods they can grow, sell and eat,” said IJ Senior Attorney Michael Bindas, who heads IJ’s National Food Freedom Initiative. “This isn’t just about Hermine and Tom’s front-yard garden. This is about the right of all Americans to peacefully use their own property to support themselves and their families.”

Sheriff Buncich Confirms Details in Lowell Murders

21 Oct

by Ken Davidson

thomas tj snow

Mugshot of Thomas TJ Snow who is currently in custody in Hawley, Minnesota

A Mugshot of Thomas “TJ” Snow’s arrest in Minnesota hung on the wall as Sheriff John Buncich confirmed the details of the crime previously reported by the Gazette.

Sheriff John Buncich held a press conference today with Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter, Coroner Merrilee Frey and investigators Leo Finnerty and Matt Eaton. The sheriff confirmed that the bodies found in Lowell on Friday were those of popular Morton High School teacher Clifford Snow and Joyce Snow. Buncich stated the bodies were “in an advanced state of decomposition.” As previously reported by the Gazette, the cause of death was blunt force trauma and strangulation. The bodies were identified via dental records according to Coroner Frey.

Buncich explained that his office received a request to perform a welfare check on the Snows on Friday October 18. When officers arrived at the home they noticed 13 or 14 newspapers in the driveway. Officers forced entry into the home and discovered the bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Snow.

Sheriff Buncich stated that there was evidence that Thomas TJ Snow had been “in and about” the residence subsequent to the deaths of his parents. Buncich explained that later investigation revealed that TJ Snow had used his parents credit cards subsequent to their deaths. When asked about the types of purchases Buncich responded “hotels, stores, etc.” Buncich said authorities would like to speak with anyone who may have had contact with TJ Snow during the period October 4-18.

An all points bulletin was issued for TJ Snow and a white Chevy HHR belonging to the deceased parents. Snow was arrested in Hawley, Minnesota on Saturday October 19. TJ attempted to flee from police after a routine traffic stop. Buncich described the apprehension as a “short pursuit after which Snow was taken into custody.” Officers traveled to Minnesota to speak with Snow. Buncich stated Snow was talking but had not confessed. He was scheduled to make a court appearance in Minnesota today.

Thomas Snow is officially a suspect in the deaths of his parents. He has not yet been charged. When asked about the procedures going forward, Prosecutor Bernard Carter explained that there are two warrants for the arrest of TJ Snow. Prosecutors in Newton County Indiana allege that Snow robbed a gas station on Route 10 on Thursday night. Additionally, there is a felony warrant for Thomas J. Snow for fleeing police in Lake County, Indiana that will allow officials here to hold him once he is released from Newton County.

Buncich credited Commander Eaton, the crime scene investigation staff, and the office of the coroner and prosecutor for working continuously since Friday to solve this case. When asked if there were other suspects in the case Buncich replied “No, not at this time.”

Buncich stressed that this is an isolated incident of domestic abuse and should not cause concern in the community. Thomas TJ Snow has not been charged and is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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TJ Snow Lead Suspect in Parent's Murder

21 Oct

by Ken Davidson

Thomas TJ Snow is in custody in Hawley, Minnesota after being arrested on a warrant for robbery stemming from a gas station robbery in Newton County, Indiana on Thursday October 17. Sheriff John Buncich confirmed that TJ Snow is officially a suspect in his parent’s death and has been questioned. Buncich described Snow as willing to talk to detectives but stated he has not confessed nor has he been charged. Sheriff Buncich asks that anyone who may have had contact with TJ Snow in the time between October 4 and October 18 to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 219-755-3371.

This update is live from the courthouse and further details will be provided as soon as possible. You can read the Gazette’s full cooverage of the Snow murders on our home page at The Northwest Indiana Gazette.

tom tj snow

Tom TJ Snow is considered a suspect in the murders of Clifford and Joyce Snow.