Man accused in killing remains in county jail, awaiting trial

EVERETT — A year after Monroe corrections officer Jayme Biendl was found slain in the prison chapel, the man accused of strangling her remains in the Snohomish County Jail awaiting trial.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Byron Scherf, 53.

The convicted rapist had been locked up at the Washington State Reformatory without a chance of release for a series of violent attacks on women. State prison documents released last year indicated that at one point prison officials considered Scherf a particular danger to prison staff, particularly female personnel.

His trial is scheduled to begin in September.

During the past year, Scherf’s lawyers have filed numerous motions in an effort to spare their client’s life. They have argued that prosecutors bungled how they notified Scherf that they would seek death penalty. They asked for a new judge and argued that Scherf’s alleged confession shouldn’t be released to the media.

Lawyers from both sides are expected to return to court next month for what are expected to be lengthy arguments over whether jurors should be allowed to hear Scherf’s alleged confession to sheriff’s detectives. There likely will be testimony from corrections officers and detectives.

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