Scherf's medical records won't be suppressed
The documents were seized just after corrections officer Jayme Biendl was found strangled at the Monroe prison.
Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wynne on Nov. 28 issued a written decision denying a defense motion to suppress Byron Scherf's medical records. Detectives obtained a search warrant and seized the records shortly after Biendl was found strangled inside the prison's chapel.
Prosecutors allege that Scherf, 53, ambushed Biendl as she shut down the chapel for the night. Scherf, who volunteered at the chapel, allegedly told investigators that he planned to kill Biendl because of something she said to him earlier in the night.
The convicted rapist was serving a life sentence without the chance of release for a series of violent crimes against women.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Scherf's attorneys argued last month that the search warrant was too broad and investigators failed to prove that there was a link between the records they seized and the killing.
Prosecutors, however, argued that Scherf's medical records, including psychological records, could help investigators determine if the inmate had some condition that could have affected his ability to form intent or plan the killing.
Detectives also had learned that Scherf had missed taking his medication the day of Biendl's death. Investigators needed to learn more about his medical condition and what possible effect skipping his medication could have on his behavior, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Ed Stemler said at last month's hearing.
Wynne agreed with the prosecutors, saying that the medical and prison history of a man facing a possible death sentence are relevant.
"No argument has been presented, and this Court can think of none, for why 30-year-old medical records which might mitigate for leniency toward Mr. Scherf, either before seeking the death penalty or at trial, are irrelevant," Wynne wrote.
Scherf is scheduled to be back in court in February when lawyers are expected to argue over the admissibility of statements he reportedly made to detectives after Biendl's death, including a confession.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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