79-year-old Missouri man arrested in connection to stabbing murder of woman almost 60 years ago

A 79-year-old Missouri man was arrested Monday in connection to the stabbing murder of an 18-year-old Illinois woman in 1966, according to the Cook County State Attorney’s office.

Karen Snider was found dead at her home in Calumet City by her husband on Nov. 12 1966. She had around 125 stab wounds to her chest, neck, shoulders, arms, legs and head, as well as bruises on her face and hands, and multiple fractured ribs, per an autopsy, authorities said. 

James Barbier was initially arrested for Snider’s murder in 1966, but never charged. Authorities did not share what motive Barbier would have to kill Snider, but said he was friends with the victim and her husband at the time.

Barbier returned to his home in Gary, Indiana the night of the murder, where his wife was with their young child.

“The defendant arrived home and appeared nervous and was observed by her to have cuts on him, blood on him and blood on his clothes,” the state attorney’s office said. “The defendant went inside their home right away, took off his clothes and put them in the washing machine.” Barbier also attended Snider’s funeral with these cuts still visible on him.

In 2022, the Calumet City Police Department reopened the case and sent items from the scene, including the victim’s dress and a blood-stained bedsheet, for forensic testing. All of the evidence sent for testing came back positive for Barbier’s DNA, which was obtained by detectives in March 2023 by way of buccal swab. 

An arrest warrant was issued for Barbier last week, and he was arrested Monday at his Missouri home. He was extradited to Illinois Wednesday. It’s not clear if Barbier has an attorney at this time.

The state is not filing a petition to detain Barbier pending trial due to his age, “physical infirmity, and recent caselaw on this pointed issue concerning the Pretrial Fairness Act and of posing ‘a real and present threat,'” the state attorney’s office said. 

“However, we are asking for maximum conditions that would include reporting in person, as well as to be physically present at each of his court dates.”

Barbier had a detention hearing on Thursday, NBC Chicago reported. It’s not clear when he will next appear in court. 

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