Monroe detective describes evidence in Scherf’s murder trial

EVERETT — Monroe police detective Barry Hatch remembered that it was raining and windy the night Jayme Biendl was killed.

He’d been called from home to the Washington State Reformatory not long after the corrections officer’s body was found in the prison chapel. He arrived around midnight Jan. 30, 2011, and like many other times, he was assigned to lead the investigation.

Hatch on Monday told jurors about the hours, weeks and months of work that have gone into bringing Byron Scherf to trial.

The repeat rapist is accused of strangling Biendl, 34, with an amplifier cord inside the sanctuary of the chapel. If convicted, Scherf could face the death penalty.

Jurors this week are expected to see videos of Scherf admitting he killed Biendl. He spoke with detectives a few days after she was strangled. He agreed to meet with them on the condition that he get some amenities at the jail, including a razor, toothpaste and snacks. He later wrote letters saying he stopped cooperating with investigators because he didn’t get what he believed detectives had promised him.

Hatch knew from the beginning that the investigation would be extensive. In the end, he delivered 24 three-ring evidence binders to Snohomish County deputy prosecutors Ed Stemler and Paul Stern.

Police officers spoke with dozens of corrections officers, inmates and other possible witnesses. Hundreds of photographs were taken. Officers collected numerous items from the chapel and Scherf’s prison cell. They searched through books and pamphlets in the chapel library.

Monroe police and prison staff also pored over hours of video footage from the prison’s surveillance system. There were a few cameras in the chapel, jurors were told. The sanctuary where Biendl was killed was not under video surveillance.

Jurors on Monday were shown a few short video clips from inside the chapel. The grainy images were taken from the security cameras in the hall and library. They show Biendl working at her post, unlocking doors and helping inmates. The videos also show Scherf. In the hours before the killing he’s seen entering the volunteer office where he worked on a computer, and following Biendl into other rooms.

The video also showed another inmate handing Scherf his coat at the end of the night after inmates were called back to their cells. He’d found Scherf’s coat hanging on a chair in the sanctuary.

That inmate, Robert Price, testified Monday, telling jurors that Scherf left the chapel with him. They were outside a control gate when Scherf said he needed to go back inside the chapel to retrieve his hat.

Price told jurors he was waiting for Scherf to come back out but a couple of corrections officers yelled at him to keep moving. Scherf was left alone with Biendl.

On Monday Price was asked if he spoke with Biendl when he left the chapel.

He said he told her the same thing he always did at the end of the night.

” ‘Good night. God bless you. Have a safe trip home,’ ” Price said.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Young woman missing from Mukilteo found safe

She called her parents and told them she was at a museum in Seattle.

Mom and brother turn in suspect in Stanwood robberies

The man is suspected of robbing the same gas station twice, and apologizing to the clerk afterward.

Edmonds police are searching for Derrick “Wiz” Crawford, 22, in the homicide of his roommate. If you see him, call 911. (Edmonds Police Department)
Roommate suspected in Edmonds killing found hiding in closet

Police had been searching for him for 10 days before locating him at a house in Everett.

Video shows man suspected of attacking a woman in Edmonds

The man allegedly threw her on the ground, then ran away after the she began kicking and screaming.

Officials to test sanity of suspect in Everett crime spree

He allegedly tried to rob and clobber a transit worker, then fled and struggled with police.

Train kills man who was trying to get off tracks in Monroe

The conductor said he attempted to stop after sighting the man, who’d been lying on the rails.

Navy to put filter in Coupeville’s contaminated water system

Chemicals from firefighting foam was found in the town’s drinking water.

Suspect sought in two Everett bank robberies

He’s described as 5-foot-10 to 6-foot-1, with dark hair and a goatee, and may have a neck tattoo.

Former Monroe cop loses appeal on sex crimes conviction

Once a highly respected officer, he was found guilty of secretly videotaping his kids’ babysitter.

Most Read