Authorities say man tried to escape by violence or force while in custody
By Alex Bridges -- firstname.lastname@example.org
WINCHESTER -- Authorities have accused capital murder suspect Justin Shane Slater of assaulting and trying to disarm two jail officers at a hospital July 3.
A Winchester Circuit Court grand jury indicted Slater, 24, formerly of 117 Buffalo Trail, Shawneeland, on Tuesday on two counts of assault and battery of a law enforcement officer and one count of attempting to escape from custody by force or violence. Authorities said the incident involved officers Andy Baker and John Nixon, who work for the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center.
The panel also indicted Slater on two counts of attempting to remove or deprive Nixon and Baker of their firearms, knowing that both are correctional officers, according to the court documents. Disarming a law enforcement officer is classified as a class 6 felony under state code. The defendant's other charges also are class 6 felonies.
Slater already has been indicted by grand juries in Frederick and Clarke counties and stands charged with two counts of capital murder in the June 10 slayings of ex-girlfriend Kayleigh Marie Plamondon and his 28-year-old brother, Gregory Scott Slater Jr.
The maximum penalty for capital murder in Virginia is death.
Slater also is charged with first-degree murder and a related firearm charge for the shooting death of his brother, who was found in his home at 293 Valley Mill Road in Frederick County, dead from a gunshot wound to the head.
Authorities located Plamondon inside a house in Lost City, W.Va., on June 13, hours after a Hardy County Sheriff's Office deputy found and apprehended Slater near Wardensville.
The Clarke grand jury also indicted Slater on Monday on one count each of use of a firearm in the commission of murder, breaking and entering into a home at night with the intent to commit murder and credit card theft. Authorities have alleged he stole his ex-girlfriend's credit card.
Jail Superintendent Bruce Conover said Slater assaulted the officers at Winchester Medical Center after receiving an X-ray following an incident at the jail in which the inmate suffered minor injuries. Slater tried to grab for either officer's gun during the incident but was unsuccessful, Conover said.
Slater did not appear in court following his indictment on the charges. He remains held without bond at the regional jail. Several inmates scheduled to appear in court via video teleconferencing, including Slater, could not because of equipment problems.
"Our request ultimately will be to push this case off given the severity of his other cases," said Slater's attorney, public defender Timothy Coyne.
Slater's lead counsel, former capital defense attorney Joseph T. Flood, did not appear in the court.
Judge John Wetsel Jr. set Sept. 4 as Slater's next appearance in the court on the charges in the city.
Slater is scheduled to appear Aug. 4 in Frederick County Circuit Court on the charges from Clarke and Frederick. Judge John Prosser has set a jury trial for Dec. 2-4, though Coyne said Monday he expected any trial to take far longer than three days. Slater's next court appearance for the first-degree murder and firearm charges is Aug. 24 in Frederick County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.