By Joe Beck
Shenandoah County authorities are continuing to investigate the murder of Phyllis Kline, 65, of Edinburg, but had little to say Friday on whether new charges or suspects will emerge in the case.
Claude Delmus Shafer Jr. of 14887 Old Valley Pike, Edinburg has been charged with first-degree murder in Kline's death. He appeared in Shenandoah County General District Court on Friday before Judge Amy Tisinger. Tisinger scheduled a preliminary hearing for 2:30 p.m. Sept. 20.
Shafer returned to jail where he is being held without bond. He also faces charges of breaking and entering with intent to commit one or more violent crimes and larceny of a firearm.
Authorities began their investigation as soon as Kline's body was discovered in her home at 148887 Old Valley Pike on June 16. Shafer was arrested the next day.
Maj. Scott Proctor of the Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office offered no new details beyond what investigators have already reported in court documents.
"The investigation is still ongoing," Proctor said. "We're still in the early part."
Shafer, 35, also is scheduled to appear in Shenandoah County Circuit Court on Aug. 28 for a hearing on 16 counts of alleged probation violations. His online record in Circuit Court shows a long list of charges and convictions extending back to 1993. The range of offenses includes numerous burglaries, drug offenses, malicious burning of property and causing bodily harm to cattle.
The criminal complaint against Shafer in connection with Kline's death states that she was stabbed to death two days before deputies discovered her body. One witness told investigators he watched Shafer break into Kline's residence and later saw Shafer emerge from the house covered in blood.
A second witness who saw Shafer the same day also told investigators that the defendant was covered in blood and had a knife with him.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org