Suspect to stand trial in Frederick County for brother's slaying, could face the death penalty
By Alex Bridges -- email@example.com
WINCHESTER -- Justin Shane Slater now stands charged with capital murder and could face the death penalty if convicted.
A grand jury indicted Slater in Frederick County Circuit Court on Thursday on one count of capital murder involving multiple deaths within three years.
The maximum punishment for capital murder in Virginia is death.
Slater appeared in the court, dark spots under his eyes, at times his head facing the floor.
Judge John Prosser appointed capital defense attorney Joseph Flood to serve as lead counsel along with public defender Timothy Coyne. A defendant may have a second attorney appointed given the nature of the charge.
Frederick County Commonwealth's Attorney Glenn Williamson asked Prosser to appoint Clarke County Commonwealth's Attorney Suzanne "Suni" Perka to assist with the prosecution.
"There were two alleged murders, one of which occurred in Clarke County, the other in Frederick County, which happened in a very similar way and close in time," Williamson said. "So it makes legal sense for two prosecutors" to handle the case.
Prosser also scheduled Slater's jury trial for Dec. 2-4.
Slater, 24, of 117 Buffalo Trail, Shawneeland, remains incarcerated and held without bail at Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center. Slater is charged with first-degree murder and use of a firearm in commission of a felony in connection with the death of his brother, Gregory Scott Slater, 28, of 293 Valley Mill Road. Authorities found Gregory Slater dead from a gunshot wound to the head in his home on June 11.
Court documents say Justin Slater confessed to authorities to killing both his brother and his estranged girlfriend, Kayleigh Marie Plamondon, 22, of White Post. Plamondon was reported missing June 9 after she was last seen house-sitting at a residence in Boyce. Authorities found Plamondon's body in a residence in Lost City, W.Va., June 13, shortly after a Hardy County, W.Va., sheriff's deputy arrested Slater on a fugitive warrant issued in Frederick County.
Slater was found driving a Volkswagen reported stolen from Pennsylvania, authorities have said. He abandoned a Jeep in Pennsylvania before taking the other vehicle to West Virginia. Both the Jeep and the Volkswagen were searched. Investigators found blood in the Jeep but no firearms.
Clarke County authorities have not disclosed the results of an autopsy performed on Plamondon in Charleston, W.Va., on June 15 to determine the cause and manner of the woman's death. Days after the autopsy, Clarke County Sheriff Anthony W. "Tony" Roper confirmed the body found was Plamondon's.
Slater's charges of first-degree murder and the related firearm offense are being handled in Frederick County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. A judge had appointed the public defender's office in that case but denied Slater's request for bond.
Thursday's indictment did not specifically refer to Gregory Slater or Plamondon as the victims.
When Prosser asked Slater whether his "situation had changed" since the appointment of the public defender's office, the defendant replied, "I believe so." But the judge clarified the question to determine if Slater's financial situation had changed, which the defendant said had not.
Coyne also asked Prosser to grant a defense motion to appoint an expert witness in the case.
Flood told Prosser he and Coyne may seek to have a mitigation specialist appointed to help resolve the case.
Outside the courtroom, Perka said she wouldn't make any comments on the case.