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December 06 , 2007

Vengeance Is Mine

The Scandalous Love Triangle That Triggered the Boyce-Sneed Feud


The 1912 Boyce-Sneed feud in West Texas began with a torrid sex scandal at the core of a love triangle, featuring Lena Snyder Sneed, the high-spirited, headstrong wife; Al Boyce, Jr., Lenas reckless, romantic lover; and John Beal Sneed, Lenas arrogant, grim, and vindictive husband, who responded to Lenas plea for a divorce by having her locked up in an insane asylum on grounds of moral insanity. The chase was on after Al rescued Lena from the asylum and the lovers fled to Canada. Thats when the killings began.No one who knew the vengeful John Beal Sneed doubted for a moment that he would go after his wifes lover with lethal intent. Frustrated by Als escape to Canada, Sneed assassinated Als aged and unarmed father, Colonel Albert Boyce, a wealthy Amarillo banker and former manager of the huge XIT Ranch in the Panhandle during the late nineteenth century, who had been defending his son against Sneeds legal machinations.Newspaper headlines predicted the upcoming murder trial would be the greatest legal battle ever fought in Texas Courts. Sneeds well-paid legal team first earned him a mistrial. While awaiting his second trial, Sneed ambushed and killed Al Boyce, Jr., who had foolishly returned to Amarillo and was shot in the back, with witnesses present, while walking the main street. Sneed was acquitted in his second trial for killing the father, and later acquitted for the killing of son Al Boyce, Jr., as wellhis legal team skillfully invoking the self-help justice of the unwritten law defending ones marital home.Bill Neal, attorney and writer, tells the full story of this sordid affair with special analysis of the trial tactics that were so carefully crafted to resonate with the jurors of this era and ensure Sneeds acquittal.
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