Three-strikes offender being held for murdering a corrections of - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Three-strikes offender being held for murdering a corrections officer

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We're learning more about a prison inmate who the Department of Corrections says is being questioned about the murder an officer over the weekend.

Byron Scherf  is a three-strikes offender, serving  a life sentence without parole.

A Spokane county jury convicted Scherf for kidnapping and raping a real estate agent near spangle. That was his third conviction.

A jury convicted Scherf in 1978 for assault. Three years later, Pierce County sheriff's deputies arrested Scherf for kidnapping and assaulting a waitress. Prosecutors say he poured gasoline on the woman and set her on fire, but she managed to escape.

Scherf's third strike and life sentence without parole followed his 1997 conviction for the kidnapping and assaulting the realtor.

The corrections department says officers found Jayme Biendl Saturday night inside the Monroe prison chapel, where she worked.  A spokesman says the officer had been strangled.

Corrections officers say they found Scherf in the chapel lobby. A DOC spokesman says Scherf had been reported missing during a routine count earlier that night.

According to a spokesman for the officers' labor union, Biendl had complained about being the sole guard working in the chapel and feeling unsafe.

If convicted of an aggravated murder charge, Scherf could face the death penalty.