Frederick police have charged a 30-year-old West Virginia woman with accessory after the fact to first-degree murder in connection with her role in a homicide on Wilcox Court in Frederick earlier this year.
Samantha Lynn Guthrie was identified as a potential suspect when Frederick police first took up the case in early May, but charges weren’t filed right away to give detectives time to work with the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office, according to Lt. Kirk Henneberry, commander of the department’s Criminal Investigation Division. Guthrie arrived at a house in the 1100 block of Wilcox Court on May 1 with 24-year-old Devon Jamel Wallace and was present when 43-year-old Ryan David Bretzfelder, an occupant of the house, killed Wallace in a fight that occurred shortly thereafter, according to charging documents. Guthrie and Wallace were dating, according to a release Wednesday from the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Police learned of the homicide after sheriff’s deputies in Jefferson County, West Virginia, found Wallace’s body on May 2 in a field near Charles Town, West Virginia, according to previous reports in The Frederick News-Post.
Guthrie “was present when the fight started between the victim and the suspect. She was also present when the victim’s body was left in West Virginia,” Henneberry said, explaining that detectives learned that Guthrie had accompanied Bretzfelder to dispose of Wallace’s body.
Bretzfelder, who was arrested at his home on May 13, admitted he assaulted Wallace, saying the fight began after Wallace assaulted Guthrie, even going so far as to strangle her briefly, according to previous reports. Bretzfelder said he struck Wallace several times in the head with a grill brush after Wallace turned toward him after letting Guthrie go. Bretzfelder continued his assault when Wallace fell off the deck of the house, punching and kicking Wallace as he tried to stand up again, the reports continued.
Bretzfelder then admitted hitting Wallace in the head four or five times with a heavy rock, killing him, according to reports. He was charged with first-degree murder and remained in the Frederick County Adult Detention Center as of Wednesday.
Guthrie was also charged with neglect of a minor because her daughter, a toddler, was present when Wallace was killed. Guthrie also reportedly took her daughter with her to West Virginia to dump Wallace’s body, Henneberry said.
“We determined that just the child being present during some of the aspects of the crime that occurred was enough to justify the charge,” the lieutenant said.
Guthrie was aware of the investigation into her alleged role in the homicide and was in touch with detectives leading up to her arrest at about 2 p.m. Tuesday, Henneberry said. She was ordered to be held without bail after a hearing Wednesday afternoon in Frederick County Circuit Court, according to a news release.