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A judge has sentenced convicted rapist and murderer Byron Scherf to death after a jury ruled him eligible Wednesday morning.
Scherf admitted to strangling corrections officer Jayme Biendl in the Chapel of the Monroe Correctional Complex in January 2011.
"I've been waiting 137 days exactly to hear those words that he's got the death penalty," Biendl's sister, Lisa Hamm, told reporters outside the Everett courtroom. "I'm going to continue to count until he's finally dead."
"It's been terrible, you can't sleep, you got nightmares," said Biendl's father, James Hamm. "It's over with and I'm glad."
Scherf has refused to explain what Biendl said to him to set him off, but said it was the final straw "of years and years of crap."
The former prison superintendent had described the new restrictions Scherf would endure if the jury gave him life in prison.
The defense argued that security failures at the Monroe prison that led to discipline and several firings, might have contributed to the murder of Biendl in January 2011.
A judge will make a final ruling at 1 p.m.
It's the first death sentence recommended since April, 2010. Connor Michael Schierman was convicted of four counts of aggravated first degree murder for the deaths of Olga Milkin, her two sons, and sister.
A jury handed down a death sentence in June 2012, but it was a reissued conviction for the rape and murder of 43-year-old Geneine Harshfield. Allen Eugene Gregory was first convicted in May 2001, but the case was overturned five years later.