“This isn’t a ‘who-done-it’. We know who did this crime,” Snohomish County Deputy Prosecutor Ed Stemler told the jury and a crowded courtroom in Everett Thursday, pointing at defendant Byron Scherf. “He told you himself he’s guilty of aggravated first degree murder.”
After closing arguments from Snohomish County prosecutors and the defense team jurors retired to deliberate. Just 50 minutes later they announced they were ready with a verdict. They found Scherf guilty of killing prison guard Jayme Biendl, who was working at the Washington State Reformatory in Monroe, where the multiple-rapist was incarcerated.
It has been a wait of more than two years for Biendl’s family, friends and co-workers. She was strangled in the prison chapel with a microphone cord January 29, 2011. Defense attorney Jon Scott acknowledged that Byron Scherf confessed to the killing, but argued the state had failed to prove it was a premeditated crime.
Ultimately the jury sided with prosecutors, finding Scherf guilty of first degree murder with aggravating circumstances.
Deputy Prosecutor Paul Stern said it was clear Scherf knew full well what he was going to do that night.
“Because he had a plan. He knew what he was going to do. He was locked, he was loaded, he was ready, he had a design. He WAS going to kill her," he said.
The penalty phase of the trial begins on Monday, with Snohomish County prosecutors pushing for the death penalty.