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Parolee Arrested In Spokane Rape Suspect Was Sentenced To Life For 1981 Crime

Tue., Oct. 10, 1995

Byron Scherf was sentenced to life in prison in 1981 after he kidnapped and raped a Pierce County woman, then doused her with gasoline and set her on fire.

But Scherf, 37, was paroled two years ago. On Friday, authorities said, he raped a real estate saleswoman while she was showing him a home in south Spokane.

He was arrested early Sunday in Post Falls when police responded to a report of a suspicious person at a nearby golf course.

Scherf was incoherent and admitted being high on drugs, possibly PCP or LSD, said Post Falls Sgt. Scott Haug. When officers asked who he was, they couldn’t understand his answers.

“At this point, we didn’t know about the rape in Spokane or anything about this man,” Haug said. “He hadn’t committed a crime. We were trying to help him.”

Finally, Scherf pointed to an address book in his pickup and officers looked inside, hoping to find a relative they could call. Instead, they found a written confession to Friday’s rape, Haug said.

“We were concerned because of the amount of detail he was including in his statements,” Haug said.

The victim, 36, told Spokane County deputies she met a man about 3 p.m. in the area of Paradise Road and U.S. Highway 395 to look at a home for sale. She said he had arranged the meeting the day before by telephone.

After looking at the house, the two prepared to leave. Then the man forced her into the kitchen and armed himself with a knife, holding it to her as he took her outside, deputies said.

He forced her to get in the trunk of his car and then drove to a secluded location, where he raped her. After the assault, the man drove back to the house and dropped off the victim, deputies said.

He was last seen driving away in a silver, four-door car. The victim drove to a local hospital for examination and reported the rape from there.

There were few leads in the investigation until Post Falls police called Monday with news of Scherf’s arrest. He mentioned the victim’s name in his written confession, Haug said.

Post Falls police booked Scherf into the Kootenai County Jail for violating conditions of his parole. Rape charges likely will follow once authorities can transfer Scherf to Spokane, sheriff’s Lt. David Wiyrick said.

Scherf gave his address as 711 W. Carlisle in Spokane.

In the 1981 incident that led to his life sentence, Scherf hid in a woman’s garage, then threatened her with a knife when she came home. He drove her to a vacant house, robbed her and raped her.

Afterwards, Scherf tied up the woman, poured gasoline on her and set her on fire. She jumped from a second-story window while still bound and survived, according to reports.

Several years before that, Scherf was convicted of assaulting another woman with a knife.

“He’s been in prison since he was like 20 years old,” Wiyrick said. “The cases are all similar … violence toward women.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo


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