Murder suspect faces long list of probation violations

By Joe Beck

The future of accused murderer Claude Delmus Shafer Jr.’s terms of probation remained uncertain after a hearing on possible probation violations was postponed Wednesday in Shenandoah County Circuit Court.

Public Defender Tim Coyne asked for the delay, citing the same reasons offered last week when a preliminary hearing was postponed in general district court: the prosecution continues to review new evidence and await laboratory test results from evidence gathered at the crime scene.

“I’d ask for a continuance until April 16,” Coyne told Judge Dennis L. Hupp.

Hupp set the next hearing for 2 p.m. April 16.

Shafer appeared in court with Coyne and later returned to the jail where he continues to be held without bond.

Shafer, 35, of 14887 Old Valley Pike, faces 16 counts of probation violations. Online court records show 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.

Shafer is charged with first-degree murder, robbery and related offenses in the death of Phyllis Kline, 65, who lived a short distance from his Edinburg home.

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 in mid-June. One witness told investigators he watched Shafer break into Kline’s residence and later saw Shafer emerge from the house covered in blood, according to court records.

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, the criminal complaint states.

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