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Slater may face charges in officer assault case

Slaying suspect was involved in violent incident while being treated at hospital

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- Slaying suspect Justin Shane Slater could face charges of assaulting and trying to disarm jail officers while at a local hospital earlier this month.

Bruce Conover, superintendent of the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center, told the Regional Jail Authority at its meeting Thursday morning that the facility recently experienced an act of violence that involved personnel, and that he expected authorities to seek an indictment in the incident.

"We had an inmate who, while at the hospital, assaulted an officer at the hospital," Conover said after the meeting.

One officer and Slater reported minor injuries as a result of the assault that occurred at Winchester Medical Center at 9:19 p.m. on July 3, according to a press release issued by the jail Thursday afternoon.

Slater, 24, of Frederick County, could be indicted by a grand jury in Winchester Circuit Court on Tuesday. Authorities will seek indictments against Slater for two counts of attempting to disarm a correctional officer, two counts of assault and battery of a law enforcement officer and one count of attempted escape, according to online court records.

Slater is being held at the jail on charges of first-degree murder and a related firearm offense related to the June 10 shooting death of his brother, Gregory Scott Slater. Slater also has been indicted on a capital murder charge related to the deaths of his brother and of his ex-girlfriend, Kayleigh Marie Plamondon.

On July 3, "inmate Justin Slater assaulted Detention Center Corrections Officers in an apparent attempt to gain control of their weapons," according to the release.

As Conover explained, Slater was being moved earlier that day to a jail cell closer to the booking area so he could be observed more closely.

"Two officers were escorting him down the hall, he looked into a cell and saw a carton of milk and ran for the carton of milk and as he ran he fell and struck his shoulder and his head," Conover said. "He got a small cut on his head."

Before the incident, Slater had asked for the milk but had been denied it because the officer didn't know to whom the drink belonged, Conover said.

"He ran into the cell to kinda grab it and that's when he fell," Conover said.

"Initially he refused treatment but ... later he agreed to go get checked and when they took him to the hospital emergency room to get checked, doctors there determined, I mean, it was just a minor injury but they wanted to take an X-ray," Conover said.

Two officers took Slater for the X-ray procedure.

"He went through the scan procedure without difficulty; one of his hands was freed so they could take the X-ray," Conover recalled. "When the officer approached him to re-secure his hand he reached for the officer's gun and a scuffle ensued. It took he and another officer to secure him."

The release states Slater "lunged at the officer in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain the officer's weapon."

"After a physical struggle and Slater's repeated attempts to break free, he was subdued, and with the assistance of hospital security staff, escorted from the hospital and returned to the Regional Detention center," according to the release.

Jail officials have not changed the way Slater has been incarcerated.

"He's always been a maximum-security inmate primarily because of the nature of his charges and he'll remain that way," Conover said.

Slater remains held without bond on the three Frederick County charges.

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