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Prosecutor: Dyroff could be arraigned next week

March 26, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - Arrest warrants were issued Thursday charging Berkeley County Magistrate Kristy Dyroff with asking her assistant to forge a subpoena and then lying about it when questioned under oath, according to court records.

The warrants charge Dyroff with a felony count of accessory before the fact of forgery of a public record, and misdemeanor counts of false swearing, accessory before the fact of destruction of a public record, fraudulent official process and intimidation or harassment of a witness.

Dyroff is expected to be arraigned on the charges next week, Berkeley County Prosecutor Pamela Games-Neely said.

Also on Thursday, a West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals administrative order was issued that prohibits Dyroff from hearing any cases or performing any other judicial duties until the criminal case is resolved.

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Copies of both the administrative order and the arrest warrants were made public Friday.

Berkeley County Sheriff's Department Lt. K.C. Bohrer, who investigated the case, filed a four-page criminal complaint with the arrest warrants.

According to the complaint, an investigation began after Cpl. Brendan Hall, also with the sheriff's department, attended a court hearing on Monday dealing with Dyroff's ex-husband.

David Greer, 43, of Martinsburg, was charged nearly a year ago with domestic battery and contributing to the delinquency of a minor after he allegedly tried to forcefully pull his daughter from a car and earlier provided alcohol to her and her friends, court records state.

During a court hearing on those charges, Hall heard testimony that led him to believe "a crime had been committed" by Dyroff, records state.

Questions started surfacing when Wesley Greer - Dyroff and David Greer's son - showed up at the hearing with a subpoena.

Although the subpoena indicated that it was issued by a Morgan County magistrate, the format is not the format used in Morgan County, records state.

Also, the signature was reputed to be that of Doreen Peer, assistant to Morgan County Magistrate Kermit Ambrose. Peer looked at the signature "and affirmed the signature not to be hers. She had never been contacted by anyone nor gave permission to use her signature," records state.

Morgan County officials were appointed to handle the case after Berkeley County officials were recused.

When Dyroff was summoned to testify on Monday, she stopped Hall before taking the stand. She told him that she had issued the subpoena and did not want to testify, records state.

However, Dyroff was sworn in and took the stand. Once on the stand, she testified that she did not know where the subpoena came from, saying that she found it on her desk, took it home and served her son with it, records state.

After the court hearing, Dyroff gestured to Hall to come into her office, where she told him that she asked her assistant, Mary Angelo, to forge Peer's signature. She also said she told Angelo to destroy the return copy of the subpoena, records state.

Angelo - who has not been charged - confirmed that she was asked to create the subpoena and sign Peer's name. Angelo said that Dyroff told her that she would contact Peer about it, records state.

"Ms. Angelo told Sgt. (Russell) Shackelford and she felt she had done nothing wrong and did not wish to get Magistrate Dyroff in trouble. She felt she was doing what she was asked by her boss and her boss had told her," Bohrer wrote in his criminal complaint.

Angelo said she had never before signed someone else's name to a subpoena.

Games-Neely declined to say why Dyroff created the subpoena, but said she was not allowed to do so.

"It was not her case to issue a subpoena in," Games-Neely said.

Dyroff's attorneys, Kevin D. Mills and Harley O. Wagner, said that Dyroff is cooperating with police and will continue to do so.

On Friday, Mills said that Dyroff is aware that the warrants have been issued.

"She intends to enter a plea of not guilty," Mills said. "She is disappointed that a domestic situation like this has seemingly blown out of proportion and that criminal charges had to be filed."

The support that Dyroff received in the recent election does not appear to have waned.

"She is appreciative of the overwhelming support that she has received from people in the legal and judicial communities, as well as (from) constituents," Mills said.

Dyroff will not make any more statements in the future, preferring instead that the facts be developed in court, Mills said.

"As is often the case, there's more to the story than the facts and allegations made in the criminal complaint," he said.

The one-page Supreme Court order issued on Thursday was signed by Chief Justice Joseph P. Albright and was issued on the same day that Dyroff requested to take an indefinite, voluntary leave of absence.

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