Murder defendant indicted for robbery

By Joe Beck

A Shenandoah County grand jury Wednesday added an indictment for robbery to the first-degree murder charge facing Claude Delmus Shafer Jr. in the death of Phyllis Kline.

Shafer remained held without bond in the jail after the indictment was issued. His next scheduled court appearance is a preliminary hearing at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 20 in Shenandoah County General District Court.

Wednesday’s indictment was the fourth charge filed against Shafer as a result of the law enforcement investigation into Kline’s death. He is also accused of burglary and stealing a firearm.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Wiseley said the robbery indictment is linked to the other three charges filed against Shafer.

Kline, 65, died in her home at 14887 Old Valley Pike near Edinburg on June 14. Shenandoah County deputies discovered her body in her home the following day, and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner concluded she had been stabbed to death.

The criminal complaint filed against Shafer cites an anonymous witness who told investigators that he/she watched Shafer break into Kline’s home. The break-in was followed by the sound of breaking class, and the witness seeing Shafer covered in blood while he was walking back to nearby railroad tracks, according to the complaint.

A second unidentified witness told investigators he or she had seen Shafer covered in blood and a knife in his hand, the complaint states.

The second witness also told police that Shafer was carrying three guns and a bag of prescription drugs with him, the complaint states.

Authorities later found the guns and knife after the second witness identified their location, according to the complaint. The recovered guns and knife matched the witness’s description of them, the complaint stated.

The complaint also states that Shafer told authorities during an interview that he had entered Kline’s residence the night of the burglary and saw her body on her bed in the bedroom, the complaint states.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com