Death penalty reinstatement proposed to protect WA prison guards

Jayme Biendl grave marker 42246.jpg
State Senator Keith Wagoner (R-Sedro Wooley) sponsors a bill that would reinstate the death penalty option for murder committed by incarcerated Washington inmates in an attempt to protect correctional officers like Jayme Biendl who was murdered by an inmate at the Monroe Correctional Center in 2011. ({ }

Incarcerated prison inmates could be subjected to execution for aggravated murder committed behind bars in Washington if the State Legislature and governor approve a new bill by a Republican State Senator representing the Monroe area.

SB 5364 bill is sponsored by State Senator, Keith Wagoner (R-Sedro Wooley), in what he says is an effort to protect prison correctional officers like Jayme Biendl, who was murdered by Monroe Corrections Center inmate Byron Scherf on January 29, 2011.

Wagoner tells KVI's Kirby Wilbur, Biendl "was really the catalyst for this bill." Wagoner's legislative district includes Monroe and the Monroe Correctional Center.

Wagoner's bill comes just after Gov. Jay Inslee and the Supreme Court of Washington (SCOW) nullified the death penalty in October 2018. "Recent (State) Supreme Court decision sorta turned our justice (system) upside down", said Wagoner. "Now they've (State Supreme Court) created a situation where the most heinous crimes have no consequence and this really stings."

According to the bill's language, SB 5364 would ensure that if a person is charged with aggravated first-degree murder and the murder occurs while the individual is already incarcerated, a request review must be submitted to the state death penalty review panel.

"You may remember officer Jayme Biendl's murder (in Monroe)", Wagoner told KVI listeners. "Her murderer (Scherf) will never face the ultimate penalty for the ultimate crime. The people who work there (state prisons) and also the inmates that are in our charge have been put in a really dangerous situation where there's no penalty for extreme violence and murder in our prisons. "

To hear the extended interview with Wilbur and Senator Wagoner, click on the above image to play the audio.

Next week, marks 8 years since Biendl was murdered inside the prison chapel on January 29, 2011. Each year family, friends, first responders and the public conduct a 3.1 mile memorial walk and run to remember Biendl. This year it will be held Sunday January 27th in Monroe. For information on how you can support Biendl, click here.

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