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Birdsall indicted in fatal stabbing of wife

February 17, 1998|By AMY WALLAUER

Birdsall indicted in fatal stabbing of wife

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - An Inwood, W.Va., man has been indicted on a first-degree murder charge in the death of his wheelchair-bound wife, who was stabbed 17 times and her body stuffed in a couch

A Berkeley County grand jury on Tuesday indicted Clyde Lee Birdsall, 54, in the death of Ericka Elfriede Stark Birdsall, 58.

Prosecutors believe Ericka Birdsall was killed on March 6, 1997, and her body jammed into a sofa bed, which was left behind a convenience store in Martinsburg.

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A passerby checking out the couch to see if it could be salvaged found Ericka Birdsall's body on March 7 behind the H-Mart on Winchester Avenue.

Birdsall is in a federal prison on a gun charge. On March 15, police searched his home and found two .22-caliber rifles and a .30-caliber rifle, according to court records.

Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely said she hopes to have Birdsall returned for arraignment on Feb. 27.

Ericka Birdsall's body wasn't identified for a week. The FBI identified her through fingerprints.

When Martinsburg Police learned her identity, they contacted Clyde Birdsall.

According to allegations contained in court documents, Birdsall, while being questioned by Martinsburg Police on March 15, said his wife had gone to Germany on a trip and would return in a few days.

When asked if he killed his wife, Birdsall said, "If I was going to kill her, I could get one of my rounds and ram a round home in one of my rifles and shoot her. Why ... would I worry about a ... kitchen knife?" according to allegations contained in court records.

At that point, police hadn't told him his wife had been stabbed, court documents alleged.

He told police he no longer loved his wife, who had multiple sclerosis, according to court records.

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