Affidavit: Man found child porn on boyfriend’s device before shooting him near Tyler State Park

Affidavit: Man found child porn on boyfriend’s device before shooting him near Tyler State Park
Robert Ernst Price (Source: Smith County Sheriff's Office)

SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - An arrest affidavit states that an Arlington man shot his partner to death with a stolen gun after finding child pornography on his digital device.

Robert Ernst Price, 51, of Arlington, was arrested after he allegedly shot and killed Nathaniel Charles Snell, 32, near Tyler State Park on July 20.

According to the affidavit, a deputy responded to a 911 call at 5:40 a.m. on July 20. The call came from the State Park Gas Station in the 14000 block of FM 14. The caller told the dispatcher that a man who came into the store had been shot in the chest. She said she heard two gunshots and then saw a vehicle leaving the parking lot.

Deputy Adam Chambless went inside the store and saw the man lying on the floor unresponsive. He attempted to revive him with CPR until the fire department arrived and took over, but the man, identified as Snell, died at the scene. Detectives were able to identify Snell and find his address by pinging his phone and using his identification in his wallet.

Over the next few days, They discovered that Snell lived in a house in Arlington, and shared a room in the house with the accused shooter, Price. According to the affidavit, detectives spoke to the owner of the house in Arlington who said that the men lived in his house and were in a romantic relationship. He said that he heard the men arguing loudly in their bedroom in the early morning hours of July 20, allegedly because Price found child pornography on Snell’s digital device. He said that methamphetamine paraphernalia was also found in the bedroom, so the decision was made that Snell could no longer live in the house. He said that Snell and Price then left the house in the SUV, which the homeowner frequently allowed Price to use.

The homeowner said that the day after the alleged shooting occurred, he found that Price was back home, but Snell was not there.

He said Price was crying and upset all day, and had gathered up all of Snell’s belongings and taken them to a charity donation box because he said “he could not stand to be reminded of him any longer.”

When deputies watched the parking lot surveillance video, they saw a GMC Terrain SUV drive into the state park across the street from the gas station at around 5:30 a.m. The SUV is seen pulling out of the park about ten minutes later, according to the affidavit, and driving into the gas station parking lot. The vehicle is still moving when the front passenger door opened, and then a gunshot was heard.

A man matching Snell’s description is seen trying to jump from the vehicle when a second gunshot is heard. Snell is seen falling to the ground. He got up, fell again, and then ran to the door of the gas station. The SUV door was still open as the vehicle slowly drove, as the driver seems to watch Snell go inside the door of the store, according to the affidavit. The door then closed and the SUV left the scene headed south on FM 14.

He also told detectives that Price had asked him to take the SUV to a carwash for him because his debit card was not working. The man did that, and said he noticed a ding in the passenger door. He also said that the gun he kept in his closet had been missing for about a month. The gun was the same kind that Snell was shot with, the affidavit stated.

Price was arrested and booked into the Smith County Jail on July 23. He is charged with murder and is being held on a $500,000 bond.

Copyright 2020 KLTV. All rights reserved.