Two Luray men charged with attempted capital murder in shooting of pregnant woman

Page News and Courier

LURAY, April 19 ― Two Luray men are charged with attempted capital murder for allegedly shooting a Page County woman, knowing she was pregnant.

Matthew David Furlow, 26, and Raymond Lee Shifflett, 20, both of Luray, were initially charged on April 4 with attempted first-degree murder. The charges were elevated on Tuesday.

“After the collection of further evidence, we feel that these are the appropriate charges, given the severe nature of the case,” said Page County Commonwealth's Attorney Ken Alger.

Around 2:17 a.m. on Monday, April 4, the Page County Sheriff's Office was called to Peach Orchard Road near Luray after a resident called to report that an individual was trying to enter their home. Deputies arrived to find that individual, Ellen Piepenbrink, 20, outside of the residence suffering from a gunshot wound to the head.

According to Maj. Phil Baker of the Page County Sheriff's Office, Piepenbrink was shot at least once on Peach Orchard Road, outside of a residence. She was then able to “make her way to a nearby residence for help.”

Furlow and Shifflett were arrested that morning at Furlow's residence at 384 Peach Orchard Road. Shifflett's address is on the the same road, at 145 Peach Orchard Road, according to deputies.

On Tuesday, Alger said that charges had been elevated to attempted capital murder because the two men shot Piepenbrink in an attempt to kill both her and the fetus.

Piepenbrink was transported to the U.Va. Medical Center in Charlottesville, where she was treated and released. The fetus also survived, according to Alger.

In total, both Furlow and Shifflett each face eight charges, including abduction; conspiracy to commit capital murder; grand larceny; attempting to conceal a body; aggravated malicious wounding; and two counts of use of a firearm in commission of a felony for aggravated malicious wounding and in an attempt to commit capital murder.

Alger said other charges could be brought against the two.

Shifflett is additionally charged with violating the terms of his probation.

On Sept. 10, 2014, Shifflett pleaded guilty in Page County Circuit Court to a string of felony thefts occurring between Sept. 16 and Oct. 2, 2013 in Page, Shenandoah and Rockingham counties.

Shifflett was one of three men who pleaded guilty to stealing a 2004 Nissan Titan and sending it over the Massanutten Mountain, as well as the theft and destruction of a 2000 Pontiac Grand Am.

Shifflett was also one of two men charged in Shenandoah County for breaking and entering and grand larceny on Oct. 20, 2013 from Page Valley Tobacco in New Market.

As of press time Tuesday, both Shifflett and Furlow were being held without bond at the Page County Jail in Luray.

Alger declined to say how the suspects knew one another or the victim, but said more details about the case are scheduled to be released Thursday, following a bond hearing in general district court.

The Commonwealth's Attorney noted that the maximum sentence for attempted capital murder is life in prison.

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