Surber still hospitalized after escape try

June 21, 2009

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Donald Berkley Surber Jr. remained a patient at Winchester (Va.) Medical Center on Monday with wounds from an escape attempt Friday, Martinsburg Police said in a news release.

On Sunday night, Berkeley County Sheriff Kenneth Lemaster said Berkeley was in critical condition.

"They have my number and would have notified me of any change," Lemaster said by telephone around 7 p.m. Sunday.

Hours before he was shot Friday during the escape attempt, Surber, who is charged with murder in the death of his ex-girlfriend during a 26-hour standoff last week, had cut his own wrists in jail, according to a Martinsburg Police Department press release.

Correctional officers had taken Surber from Eastern Regional Jail to the hospital for treatment. But when Surber tried to flee and reached for an officer's gun, an officer shot him once, wounding him in the arm and torso, police said.

After the shooting, which happened about 8:30 p.m. Friday, Surber was treated at City Hospital, then taken to Winchester in critical condition, City Hospital spokeswoman Teresa McCabe said.


Police said in the release they obtained a felony warrant from Berkeley County Magistrate Harry Snow charging Surber with escape from a correctional facility. Games-Neely approved extraditing Surber when he is released from the Winchester hospital.

Surber already faced one count of first-degree murder and one count of kidnapping in connection with the standoff a week ago at the Raider Lane home of Katherine Nicole Sharp, his ex-girlfriend.

Before Friday's shooting, Surber, 37, of Winchester, Va., had been scheduled to appear in court on the murder and kidnapping charges this Thursday.

"The Martinsburg Police Department is expecting to complete its preliminary investigation into this escape, excluding any examinations which may be performed by the West Virginia State Police Crime Laboratory on the forensic evidence," Monday's news release said.

"It is expected that the initial report of the investigation will be finalized later this week and it will then be submitted to the Prosecuting Attorney's Office for review," the release said.

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