A former District of Columbia police officer, who is charged with first degree murder in the slaying of his wife, was ordered held on $20,000 bond yesterday at a hearing in Charles County District Court.

Steven John Shalkowski, 31, stared straight ahead as Judge Richard L. Clark read the charges lodged against him following the death of Shalkowski's wife, Irene, whose body was found Saturday in a shallow grave in the county.

Harry James Jennings, 28, a District of Columbia police officer who has been charged as an accessory after the fact in the slaying, also was ordered held yesterday on a $20,000 bond.

Jennings and Shalkowski, who have both served more than eight years on the D.C. police force, were arrested Saturday after Irene Shalkowski's body was found near Waldorf. She had been stabbed with an ice pick and shot with a shotgun.

Asked by the judge if he had anything to say, Shalkowski, a thin, unshaven man, said softly, "I request that bail be set low [enough] that I could reach it."

As of early yesterday evening, neither officer had posted the bond.

Clark said the state's attorney had said that Shalkowski had made "incriminating statements." However, he said that because Shalkowski was not considered a danger to the community, he would place him on $20,000 bond. Shalkowski had been held without bond pending yesterday's hearing.

Shalkowski, who resigned from the police force Saturday, told the judge he had no source of income. Clark referred him to the public defender's office.

Jennings, a tall, burly man, shifted from one foot to the other as Judge George W. Bolling ordered that he continue to be held on $20,000 bond.

Meanwhile, an autopsy completed yesterday revealed that Irene Shalkowski died of a gunshot wound in the chest, according to a spokesman in the state medical examiner's office in Baltimore.

Shalkowski had reported his wife missing on Oct. 28. The discovery of the body Saturday ended a meandering search that involved Virginia and Maryland authorities.

Prince George's County police investigator Gary Shimp has conducted background interviews with relatives and friends of Irene Shalkowski after her husband reported her missing.

Early in November Shimp was notified by a Frederick County, Va., sheriff's deputy that the car in which the woman was last seen had been located on a rural road in the county, far from any of her family or friends. Items belonging to her were found near the car.

Shimp suspected foul play and turned the investigation over to Prince George's County homicide detectives.

David Hatfield, who coordinated the homicide investigation, said yesterday that detectives began discounting Shalkowski's missing persons report after a visit to Frederick County and further interviews with friends and relatives of the couple.