Murder suspect's statement played in court

October 7, 2008 7:55:05 AM PDT
The young woman now on trial in the 2003 quadruple murder of her friends told authorities she was forced to participate in the brutal killing and was afraid her boyfriend would kill her if she didn't, according to her 2006 statement played in court on Monday. Christine Paolilla, now 22, was charged in 2006 with capital murder in the shooting deaths of her then-friends and Clear Lake high classmates -- Tiffany Rowell, Marcus Precella, Rachel Koloroutis and Adelbert Sanchez. All of them were discovered dead at a gory scene on July 18, 2003. The killings were drug related, detectives said. She faces life in prison if convicted. She was 17 at the time of the crime.

In the video statement, taken three years after the 2003 killing and played in trial Monday, Paolilla told a detective how that deadly afternoon unfolded and how her then boyfriend, Christopher Snider, repeatedly threatened her while holding a gun.

Snider committed suicide in 2006.

She told the detective that on the way to see their four friends, she became fearful of Snider because he started driving faster, screamed profanities at her and pulled out a gun.

"I was getting scared of him... afraid he'd beat me up," she then told the detective. "I thought he was going to shoot me." He pulled her hair, accused her of being a 'baby and a (expletive)' and 'egged me on.'

After arriving at the house, Snider forced her hands around a second gun, which she cradled in her arms, Paolilla said in the statement. "I didn't want to point it at anyone," she said.

She told the detective she had never before held a gun and that the afternoon was surreal.

At the house, Snider and one of the young men got into a verbal altercation, which escalated and Paolilla and the two other girls started crying, she said.

Paolilla said she stated praying to herself before gunfire erupted: "'God, please, please...' That's when I heard the first gunshot. I was so sick... The girls started screaming."

She said Snider hollered at the girls and told them to, "Shut up! Shut up!"

Then the sound of gunfire went, "Pop, pop," Paolilla said.

She said she was unsure at the time who had been hit by the gunfire, but two females and a male were slouched over on the couch.

Paolilla said that shortly thereafter, she was curled up in a ball on the floor and Snider called her a 'piece of (expletive)' before trying to grab the gun cradled in her arms.

"I thought he was going to shoot me," she said.

Then Snider put the gun in her hand, his hands on top of hers, and the gun fired a few times, she said in the statement.

Paolilla said that particular part of the afternoon killings was, "very, like, foggy." She said she tried unsuccessfully to pull away from him.

At first, Paolilla said she had nothing to do with Snider following the incident, but later explained during her statement that the two continued a casual, but not romantic, relationship for a month or so. During that time, she told the detective, Snider ordered her to stay quiet about what had happened. "You better not say (expletive)," Paolilla claimed Snider told her. "You'll be sorry."

She said Snider was insistent that she was still "his girl," but she told him that she wasn't any longer and that she hated him, Paolilla said in the statement. She said when she called out to God, Snider chastised her. "Chris doesn't believe in God," she told the detective. "He said, 'God... God... God. He can't (expletive) help you.'"

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