Friend recalls Snyder as a good-hearted person

Brandon Snyder. (Photo courtesy GoFundMe)

The brutal way Brandon Snyder died in Perham March 31 is at odds with how he is remembered by friends and family.

Snyder, 34, was stabbed in both eyes and shot multiple times at his Perham home.

His housemate, Derek Sweere, 40 of Perham, is charged with second-degree murder and possession of a firearm in Snyder's death. Sweere told Perham police that he had killed Snyder in self-defense after Snyder had threatened him with Sweere's gun, according to the criminal complaint.

“I don’t see him treating anybody like that,” Charity Mertens, of Wadena, said of Snyder.

Mertens was a friend to Snyder and Snyder's mother, and was previously married to one of Snyder's cousins. Mertens said she was designated by Snyder's mother to speak to the Focus on behalf of the family.


She said she doesn't believe Sweere's claims of self-defense: ”when it’s self-defense, once you stop the attack you stop,” Mertens said.

She described Snyder as a good-hearted person who didn't mistreat anyone -- especially not his friends. He loved animals and his family, and treated friends like family, Mertens said.

Mertens said Snyder believed something was not right with Sweere, and had planned to move home on Tuesday, March 31.

Crime scene tape covers the entrances to the home in the 600 block of First Avenue South, where Perham police responded to the incident Monday, March 30. RosaLin Alcoser / Forum News Service

March 30, the night he was killed, he called his mother asking her to come to get him because he thought that something was wrong.

His mother told him that she could be there to get him in 45 minutes, Mertens said. Snyder replied that he did not have 45 minutes, or even 20 minutes. Something had happened to cause him to be afraid of Sweere, Mertens said.

When she arrived in Perham, Michelle Snyder pulled up behind the squad car in a white SUV and jumped out, according to the criminal complaint, yelling, "Is that blood on him? Did he kill my son?” Snyder told an agent from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, that she received a text from her son telling her that he feared Sweere and wanted to leave the residence, according to the complaint.


Snyder moved to Perham from Verndale and worked at Shearer’s Foods for the past two years, according to a GoFundMe page started April 4 by his aunt, Becky Lustila of Perham.

A private family funeral was Wednesday, April 8, Mertens said.

What To Read Next
Get Local