Girlfriend charged in death of man found in Maryland forest
FROSTBURG, Md. – The girlfriend of a man found naked with his throat slashed in a Maryland state forest in January was charged with murder Thursday, officials said.
Garrett County State's Attorney Lisa Thayer Welch announced that Megan Virginia Shaffer, 21, has been charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and assisting another to commit or attempt to commit suicide, The Cumberland Times-News reported.
The death of Alexander Stevens, 24, of Frostburg, was ruled a homicide in March.
Shaffer told authorities they had hiked to an overlook in the Savage River State Forest on the night of Jan. 3 and fallen from the cliff, according to transcripts of Garrett County emergency communications obtained by The Associated Press. She told authorities she thought Stevens was dead after the 33-foot fall and left him below the cliff.
Shaffer said she walked out of the woods in the morning after having been lost all night, entered a home and used the homeowner's phone to call 911. She was taken to a hospital with a broken shoulder and a possible broken back.
The next day, Stevens' body was found on a logging road. The newspaper reported that in addition to his broken bones, his throat had been cut deeply, more than once.
Court records state Jay Stevens told police that his son had been acting differently for several years.
"He'd grown his hair longer, was reading about religions, thinking about his place in society," Jay Stevens said. "I never, never, ever, ever thought that he was suicidal. I know my son. He had all these plans to do things."
Days before his death, Stevens had opened a "transfer on death" account listing Shaffer as the beneficiary. A judge granted the request of Stevens' father to stop the transfer of more than $188,000.
Shaffer, of Carpendale, W.Va., is being held in the Garrett County Detention Center pending her initial court appearance.
Lawyer Stephen R. Tully told the newspaper Thursday afternoon that he will represent Shaffer but said he hadn't seen the charges at that point.
Information from: Cumberland (Md.) Times-News, http://www.times-news.com/timesnew.html