Former Berkeley attorney surrenders license following arson conviction
Lawrence Smith Sep. 14, 2012, 2:40am
CHARLESTON – Five months following her conviction for attempting to torch her former place of employment, an eastern panhandle attorney has surrendered her law license.
The state Supreme Court on Aug. 30 voted unanimously to disbar Ashley R. Shreve. The Court's decision was in response to a motion filed July 13 by its Office of Disciplinary Counsel following a petition Shreve filed to have her license voluntarily annulled.
In March, Shreve, 30, of Oakland, Md., agreed to plead no contest to charges of second-degree arson, and conveying a bomb threat. In exchange for her plea, Berkeley County Prosecutor Pamela Jean Games-Neeley agreed to dismiss another charge of conveying a bomb treat, and attempted arson returned against Shreve in an October 2010 indictment.
The indictment stemmed from Shreve setting fire to a box of files at the Martinsburg branch of McNeer, Highland, McMunn and Varner in September 2007. Shreve worked for the firm for seven more months before leaving to work in Richmond, Va. following her attempt to set a second fire at the firm.
Between then, the indictment alleges she sent bomb threats to nearby businesses, including Westfield Insurance, and wrote anonymous letters to the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department taunting them for not making an arrest in the first arson. After DNA obtained from the envelope sent to Westfield matched Shreve's, the Sheriff's Office obtained a warrant for her arrest.
In May 2010, Shreve was arrested by the Henrico County Sheriff's Office without incident, and later waived extradition. The following July, Berkeley Magistrate Sandra L. Miller found enough probable cause to bound Shreve's case to the grand jury.
The plea agreement also called for Shreve to undergo a psychological evaluation, participate in mental health counseling and make restitution to the McNeer law firm. The damage caused by the fire was estimated between $5,000 to $10,000.
At her sentencing hearing on April 30, Judge Christopher C. Wilkes ordered Shreve to a concurrent term of five years in prison on the arson charge and 1-3 years on the conveying charge, then suspended the sentence, and placed her on five years probation. Also, he ordered her to pay $3,048.07 in restitution the McNeer firm, and $345 in court costs.
According to its its Web site, Shreve, a graduate of West Virginia University's College of Law, was admitted to the state Bar on Oct. 5, 2006. She may petition for reinstatement of her license in 2017.
West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals case number 12-0831, Berkeley Circuit Court case number 10-F-168