A man who Canyon County prosecutors say was part of a group who severely beat a gay man to death near Lake Lowell last April was found guilty on four felony charges late Thursday afternoon.
After approximately five hours of deliberation, a jury found Jayson Woods guilty of first-degree murder, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery and accepting earnings from a prostitute. Woods was one of four defendants charged in the beating death of Steven Nelson in the early morning hours of April 29 of last year.
Tracy testified he was under the impression that the arranged attack was supposed to simply be what was termed a “grab and go” -– A scenario where he says he thought they would take the victim's money and run.
Kelly Schneider, 23, of Nampa -– who police say was the ringleader of the group -- was indicted January 10th by a federal grand jury in Boise “for willfully assaulting a person because of the person’s sexual orientation,” according to U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson.
According to prosecutors, Nelson responded to an online advertisement for a gay sexual encounter. The victim met Kelly Shneider and a Walmart parking lot, and drove him to an area near Lake Lowell.
At the Gott’s Point location, Schneider reportedly attacked the victim, choking him from behind, pushing him to the ground and then kicking him several times with steel-toed boots. Prosecutors say Schneider and co-defendant Jayson Woods, 28, allegedly then robbed and stripped him before fleeing the scene in the victim’s car with his belongings.
Nelson managed to make his way to a house about a half-mile away, where he rang the doorbell of a home yelling for help, prompting the homeowner to call 911.
Schneider’s federal arraignment is set for Tuesday at 2:00 p.m., before Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Bush. A trial date will be set at that time.
Trial dates for co-defendants, Daniel Henkel and Kevin Tracy have not yet been scheduled.