Megan Shaffer 3-19-18

Megan Shaffer in March, 2018 (Photo from Garrett County Detention Center)

CUMBERLAND — The Maryland Court of Special Appeals will make a decision on the Megan Virginia Shaffer v. State of Maryland case without a hearing.

Shaffer, 22, of Ridgeley, West Virginia, was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and assisting another to commit or attempt to commit suicide in the death of Alexander Stevens, 24, of Frostburg.

Stevens was found dead at the bottom of a cliff known as High Rock, within the Savage River State Forest in Garrett County near Pine Swamp Road, on Jan. 4, 2017.

A jury on March 19, 2018, found her guilty of second-degree murder.

In July 2018, Garrett County Circuit Court Judge Raymond Strubin sentenced Shaffer to 30 years in prison, which she’s serving at Maryland Correctional Institution for Women in Jessup.

During the sentencing, Strubin said Shaffer had several opportunities to leave Stevens the night he died.

"She could have walked away," he said.

Shaffer challenged Strubin’s decision. In October, however, a three-judge panel found “the sentence imposed to be reasonable and appropriate.”

Most recently, Shaffer requested the case go before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. In a brief, her attorney questioned whether Shaffer voluntarily talked to EMS and police.

Nadine Maeser, public information officer for the Maryland courts, government relations and public affairs division in Annapolis, on Friday said the case will be reviewed on Oct. 11.

“A panel of the Court will, at that time, consider the issues raised in the briefs and resolve them in its opinion which will be filed later,” she said via email. “Pursuant to Maryland Rule 8-523(b)(1), the Court has determined that oral argument would not be of assistance to a decision.”

A three-judge panel will review the case, Maeser said.

“Opinions in most cases are filed within about 60 to 90 days,” she said and added that some cases can take longer.

The deadline for the state to file its brief is set for September 11, Shaffer’s 23rd birthday.

“Ordinarily, the appellee has 30 days from the date that the appellant’s brief is filed, but, in this case, the parties appropriately stipulated to an extension of that deadline,” Maeser said.

Shaffer can petition for a writ of certiorari — permission to pursue an appeal — to the state’s Court of Appeals either now or within 15 days of the issuance of the COSA mandate, Maeser said.

“If the Court of Appeals grants the petition for writ of certiorari, then the case would be briefed and considered in much the same way an appeal is heard in the COSA,” she said.

Teresa McMinn is the digital editor at Cumberland Times-News. Email her at tmcminn@times-news.com, call/text her at 304-639-2371 and follow her on Twitter.

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