Slain W.Va. woman's ex-boyfriend faces murder charge

June 17, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Katherine Nicole Sharp, the ex-girlfriend of the man charged with kidnapping and then killing her, died from multiple stab wounds, authorities said Wednesday.

Donald Berkley Surber Jr., 37, of 110 Braeburn St. in Winchester, Va., was arraigned Wednesday night at Eastern Regional Jail by Magistrate Harry L. Snow on felony charges of first-degree murder and kidnapping.

Surber was being held at the jail without bond on the kidnapping charge, which was dismissed Wednesday, then refiled.

Sharp's death was ruled a homicide by the West Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Jean Games-Neely said Wednesday afternoon.

Games-Neely declined to release additional information about the 35-year-old woman's autopsy out of respect for the family.

"The children are completely freaked out about this ..." Games-Neely said.

A preliminary hearing for Surber had been set for Monday at 4 p.m., but Games-Neely did not know whether Wednesday's court actions would force the proceeding to be rescheduled.


Surber's arrest Monday afternoon effectively ended a standoff with police at 10 Raider Lane in the Ridgefield subdivision that spanned more than 24 hours, paralyzing the neighborhood.

The standoff began Sunday morning, when West Virginia State Police Cpl. M.A. Cole and Trooper W.M. Roden arrived at the home just off W.Va. 9 west of Interstate 81, according to Cole's complaint,

At 11:46 a.m., Sharp's 14-year-old daughter called 911 for help, then escaped from the home through a bedroom window, authorities had said. Police were told Surber forced his way into the home with a firearm, Cole said.

The woman's 7-year-old son was not at the residence.

Surber briefly appeared at a window on the southwest side of the home when Cole and Roden arrived and threatened to kill Sharp if they didn't move their cruisers, according to Cole's complaint.

After staging nearby and then making contact with Surber, Cole said he maintained communications with the defendant for the next 10 hours, "requesting the release of the victim and a peaceful resolution to the matter."

Surber refused to release the victim and further demanded to speak with his children, Cole said in his complaint.

Communications with Surber continued through Sunday night and into Monday morning, Cole said.

Negotiations continued through Monday afternoon, with Surber providing conflicting accounts about the victim's status, Cole said.

At one point in the negotiations, Surber admitted Sharp was dead and he killed her, according to Cole's complaint.

"He then later shouted through the window to 'come get me if you want to save her,'" Cole said in his complaint.

Just before 2 p.m. on Monday, members of the West Virginia State Police Special Response Team lobbed some type of gas into the home, police had said.

Because he had barricaded the front door, Surber had to exit through a front window and was assisted by Special Response Team members, Cole said in his complaint.

Sharp then was found dead in the home by police.

Funeral arrangements

Funeral arrangements for Sharp, a Waynesboro, Pa., native and 1992 graduate of Jefferson High School, were announced Wednesday afternoon by Brown Funeral Home.

Services will be Saturday at 1 p.m. at South Berkeley Chapel in Inwood, W.Va.

The family will receive friends Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. at South Berkeley Chapel.

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