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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

The Violent Death of Judge Sandra Feurstein

      At ten in the morning on Friday, April 9, 2021, in the Atlantic coastal town of Boca Raton, Florida, a young woman in a red two-door sedan was seen speeding around stopped vehicles and veering off the street onto the sidewalk. The car struck 75-year-old Sandra Feurstein, a vacationing federal judge from Long Island, New York. After smashing into Judge Feurstein on the sidewalk, the out of control vehicle swerved back onto the street and hit a six-year-old boy walking in an Ocean Boulevard crosswalk.

     Fifteen minutes after plowing into the two Boca Raton pedestrians, the driver crashed her car in Delray Beach. When police officers approached the red two-door sedan the driver appeared unconscious. When spoken to, she climbed out of her damaged car convulsing and starring into space. 

     Once in the ambulance, 23-year-old Natasia Snape from North Lauderdale started screaming, fighting with the medics, and yelling that she was Harry Potter. (In the Potter novels there's a prominent character named Snape.) A member of the ambulance crew subdued Snape with an injection. Snape was transported to the Delray Beach Medical Center for observation. 

     At the hospital, when questioned by a police officer, Natasia Snape denied running over the judge and the six-year-old boy in Boca Raton. 

     In Snapes' vehicle officers found a container labeled "THC Cannabis" and synthetic drug called T-Salts, a bath salt known to cause psychotic episodes. Officers acquired a search warrant authorizing removal of the suspect's blood for toxicological tests. 

     Later that Friday, officers booked Natasia Snape into the Palm County Jail on charges of vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury. The magistrate set her bail at $60,000.

     Sandra Feurstein, the 75-year-old victim of the Boca Raton hit and run was pronounced dead at the Delray Beach Medical Center. The boy, Anthony Ouchinnikov, was treated for his injuries, and on Sunday, April 8, discharged from the hospital.

     After working a few years as a public school teacher, Sandra Feurstein graduated in 1979 from New York City's Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. She practiced law for a few years then served 16 years as a New York State judge. President George W. Bush, in 2003, appointed her to the federal bench for the Eastern District of New York, a jurisdiction that included Long Island, Brooklyn, and Queens. Her mother Annette Eistein, who died in 2020, had been a federal judge as well. 

     At the time of Judge Feurstein's death she was presiding over a high-profile murder-for-hire case in which former New York City Police officer Valerie Cincinelli was accused of paying her lover to kill her estranged husband. The defendant was expected to plead guilty upon the judge's return to New York. Due to her unexpected death the case was on hold. 

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