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Murder suspect is returned to Virginia

Slater held in regional jail after waiving right to fight extradition from W.Va.

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- Murder suspect Justin Shane "Pi" Slater was returned to Virginia on Wednesday, and is being held at the regional jail on two felony charges.

Slater, 24, of 117 Buffalo Trail, Shawneeland, is accused of shooting his brother, Gregory Scott Slater, 28, of 293 Valley Mill Road, Winchester. Gregory Slater was found dead in his home Thursday. He died from a single gunshot wound to the head, according to the state medical examiner's office in Fairfax.

The younger Slater is being held in Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center, according to Maj. Robert "Robbie" Eckman of the Frederick County Sheriff's Office. Authorities were in the process of serving arrest warrants, sought through the Frederick County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, for one count each of first-degree murder and use of a firearm in commission of the felony.

Slater is expected to have a court hearing today, although he may appear via video, Eckman said Wednesday.

Slater appeared Wednesday morning in Hardy County Circuit Court in Moorefield, W.Va., for an extradition hearing. Slater, wearing a red jail uniform, handcuffs and shackles, waived his right to fight extradition and voluntarily returned to Virginia.

Hardy County Sheriff's Deputy David T. Warren apprehended Slater on Saturday near Wardensville, W.Va., without incident after hearing that a clerk at a nearby 7-Eleven recognized the suspect. Slater had been held without bond at the Potomac Highlands Regional Jail in Hampshire County since then as he awaited extradition.

Hardy County Circuit Judge Jerry D. Moore explained the extradition process to Slater, represented by his court-appointed attorney, J. David Judy. The judge told Slater he had a right to challenge his extradition back to Virginia or waive that right and return to the state voluntarily to face his charges.

"I desire to go back to Virginia," Slater told the judge.

Moore accepted Slater's waiver. Had Slater decided to challenge the extradition, Moore explained that the Virginia governor would have to issue a governor's warrant to seek the suspect's return.

Lucas J. See, prosecuting attorney for Hardy County, told Moore he understood that Frederick County authorities planned to pick up Slater on Wednesday.

After the 20-minute hearing, jailers and deputies with the Hardy County Sheriff's Office led a person wearing the same red uniform out of the courthouse and into a waiting, parked van. A jacket or some type of bag was put over the person's head to conceal his or her identity. The van left with only the one person dressed as a prisoner inside.

Later that afternoon, Slater arrived at the regional jail in Frederick County.

Eckman said the Sheriff's Office isn't releasing any information at this time as to whether investigators have found any weapons that may have been used in Slater's brother's slaying.

Hardy County Deputy B.C. Ward recovered a 9mm handgun and ammunition was found in a Volkswagen GTI driven by Slater just before his arrest, according to a search warrant. The Volkswagen had been reported stolen from Pennsylvania.

A Frederick County investigator seized from the Buffalo Trail home a Connecticut Valley Arms, .50-caliber, black powder rifle with scope and assorted ammunition, according to a search warrant executed June 11 and filed Monday.

According to the corresponding affidavit, Phyllis Riggleman, grandmother of the Slater brothers, said the suspect lived in the basement at the Buffalo Trail home. He was not in the house when she checked on the day Gregory Slater was found dead, the affidavit states. A firearm also was missing from his area.

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