Deaths of Springfield men ruled a suicide pact
SPRINGFIELD — The deaths of two young men whose bodies were found in a shed near Four Corners Road in April of last year have officially been ruled suicide by the attorney general.
The bodies of Tom Pursell, 19, and Lester Snide, 23, were discovered by a juvenile on a hike in the area on April 19, 2012. Police found a rifle and two suicide notes at the scene and soon after said all indications were that Snide shot and killed Pursell, and then shot himself.
Evidence at the scene suggested the men had been deceased in the shed since mid- to late-December of 2011.
In his final report on the deaths, issued Friday morning, Attorney General Joseph Foster said no criminal charges will be filed and the case is closed.
“Lester Snide and Clifford Pursell were friends at the time of their deaths. Both had struggled with thoughts of suicide in the past,” according to the final report.
“Snide was having difficulties while on parole and had stated many times that he would kill himself before he ever went back to prison. Pursell had recently learned discouraging news about life plans and was taking it hard.”
Based on the evidence, according to the report, the deaths were the result of a “suicide pact.”
Officials quoted from the suicide notes found at the scene. Pursell wrote, “Lester didn’t murder me. I asked him to do it,” while Snide’s note was titled, “This is my final goodbye.”
After a childhood riddled with abuse, neglect and abandonment, Snide first came to the public’s attention in June 2007, when he broke into the Springfield Police Station and stole a shotgun with the intention of shooting himself.
Pursell’s mother, Sandra Pursell, said her son had been depressed because he was not going to realize his dream of joining the Army due to medical reasons.