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October 26, 2011 at 3:06 PM

Three corrections officers fired in wake of Monroe prison death

By Times staff reporter Jonathan Martin:

Three state corrections officers at the Monroe Correctional Complex have been fired and four others demoted or reprimanded following an investigation into the murder in January death of corrections officer Jayme Biendl.

Jayme Biendl

Two of the officers, who weren’t named by the  Department of Corrections, were fired for allegedly lying to police and DOC investigators. A third was fired for being absent from his post, a roving patrol outside the Monroe prison chapel where Biendl was strangled to death.

Two lieutenants and another corrections officer were reprimanded for their actions, and a sergeant was demoted. All were faulted in an internal investigation, released in July, which described how “tunnel vision” delayed discovery of Biendl’s body for nearly two hours. “To operate a safe facility it is absolutely critical that we hold ourselves accountable for our actions, which is why I took the action I did,” Monroe prison superintendent Scott Frakes said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.

Biendl, the first DOC officer killed in a state prison in 32 years, was allegedly strangled by offender Byron Scherf, a convicted rapist serving a life sentence, as she was alone and closing the prison chapel. Scherf confessed to the murder and is awaiting trial in Snohomish County. If convicted, he potentially faces the death penalty.

Comments | More in General news | Topics: Byron Scherf, crime, Jayme Biendl

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