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Death Penalty Sought For Byron Scherf

Patricia Murphy

Snohomish County prosecutors will seek a death sentence for the inmate accused of murdering corrections officer Jayme Biendl. Biendl was strangled in the chapel of the Monroe Correctional Complex in January. Accused murderer Byron Scherf is already serving a life sentence under the state's three strikes law. Scherf is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday. KUOW's Patricia Murphy reports.


Court documents say Byron Scherf admitted to investigators that he killed Jayme Biendl after becoming angry over a remark that she made to another inmate.

Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe says he met with members of Biendl's family Monday to tell them of his decision.

Roe: "They were unanimous in believing we should seek the death penalty."

Scherf has also asked to be put to death, telling investigators, 'I took her life. I think I should forfeit mine.'

Roe says Scherf's statement didn't factor into his choice.

Roe: "I make decisions based on what I think is the right thing to do. I think any prosecutor that starts making decisions based on what criminal defendants say they want is gonna find it pretty dicey."

34–year–old Jayme Biendl had been with the Department of Corrections since 2002.

The last corrections officer killed in a Washington state prison was Sergeant Bill Cross in 1979. Cross was stabbed while assisting other officers during a disturbance at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla.

Scherf is charged with aggravated first–degree murder. The only other possible sentence should he be convicted in Biendl's death would be life in prison without the possibility of parole.

I'm Patricia Murphy, KUOW News.

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