Homicide victim wounded 28 times
Authorities: Suspects gave contradictory accounts, answers
BEDFORD — Authorities revealed more details Monday on a brutal weekend homicide that left one man dead and three jailed in Bedford County.
County Coroner Rusty Styer said Gary Wayne Shriver Jr., 50, suffered at least 28 sharp-force injuries — stabbing or cutting wounds — before he was left at the bottom of an embankment near a dammed lake in Cumberland Valley Township. The three named suspects have provided sharply conflicting stories about what happened, state police said.
While a precise motive remains unclear, District Attorney Bill Higgins said drugs are believed to have played a role in Shriver’s death. Police charged Heather Renee Schade, 29, of Bedford; James Antonio Wallace, 29, of Randallstown, Md.; and Devonta Desean Gaines, 22, of Baltimore; with homicide and conspiracy after they found the trio in a car near the scene.
“These arrests were the result of good old-fashioned police work — pure and simple,” Higgins said in a news release following the arrests.
Shriver’s body was first discovered late Friday by a pair of Pennsylvania Game Commission officers responding to a call for a disturbance in the rural area near Lake Gordon. The game officers called the state police, who discovered a blood trail leading from Lake Gordon Road to the spot where Shriver lay, his throat slashed.
As they investigated the scene, troopers spotted a car driving nearby and approached it, they said in an affidavit. When they tried to stop the car, it went into reverse and struck a guardrail before the driver — later identified as Wallace — agreed to stop. Gaines and Schade were in the car as well, they said.
Police said they noticed blood splattered on the car’s exterior and stains on its upholstery, while towels, gloves and bleach were stored inside. Troopers said they later found bloodstains on Gaines’ shoes as well.
Styer said Deputy Coroner Rocky Fetter pronounced Shriver dead at 2:45 a.m. Saturday, more than two hours after he was first called to the scene. Shriver died of blood loss after suffering dozens of wounds.
The three suspects agreed to speak with police Saturday, although all reportedly provided changing and sometimes contradictory stories.
Schade initially said she had been at Shriver’s house Friday but claimed Shriver had left and that she hadn’t seen him since. She said she, Gaines and Wallace spent the day driving in the Cumberland area and decided to drive toward her former home in Bedford, where they ended up near the crime scene.
Later, however, Schade allegedly changed her story: She said Shriver had contacted her Friday night in search of crack cocaine, prompting the three to pick him up.
At some point while the four drove together, an argument broke out over a past dispute, and Gaines and Wallace pulled Shriver from the car, she told police. Schade claimed she hid her face, frightened, as the two beat Shriver on the roadside.
The nature of Shriver and Schade’s relationship was not clear Monday, although they appeared to be listed as friends on Facebook.
Wallace allegedly told police he, Gaines and Schade had met up Friday and stopped at Rocky Gap Casino near Cumberland — a story that changed as police questioned him further. He claimed not to know Shriver, the victim, and said he and Gaines happened upon Schade by chance in Bedford County after the apparent homicide had taken place.
Wallace reportedly told police Gaines had stepped in the blood by chance and didn’t know where it came from.
“He could not explain the blood inside the car or on the trunk or license plate,” police wrote. “He also said he never saw an altercation.”
Gaines, meanwhile, told police he spent much of the day passed out in the car’s back seat and forgot many of the day’s events. He claimed he awoke only “when the cops were in his face,” police wrote.
Between the conflicting, changing stories and the fact that some details — including their stop at the Rocky Gap Casino — could not be confirmed, police charged the three with homicide and held them in Bedford County jail. Troopers said they procured blood samples from the scene and from the suspects’ car.
The three were arraigned early Sunday morning before Magisterial District Judge Cyril H. Bingham Jr. They remain in Bedford County jail without bail and face preliminary hearings Wednesday before Bingham, according to online court records.
On Monday, Higgins said Shriver’s homicide was not connected to the July slaying of Daniel J. Sufczynski, another Maryland man killed in rural southern Bedford County. Police have not publicly identified a suspect in the death of Sufczynski, 58, a Baltimore-area native who kept a weekend cabin in Southampton Township.
Higgins praised the state troopers, some of whom had responded to last week’s CSX train derailment that prompted authorities to evacuate Hyndman, just a few miles from the scene of Shriver’s death.
“Many were just coming off working long hours on the tragic events associated with the train wreck in Hyndman,” Higgins said. “We are fortunate to have these dedicated men and women working for us, and they were able to start the process of delivering justice to the Shriver family.”
Mirror Staff Writer Ryan Brown is at 946-7457.