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Yurish's mother could lose house

April 14, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - A Berkeley County assistant prosecutor filed two related motions Wednesday to seize the house of Michael Yurish's mother because her son violated his bond by entering the residence of his estranged wife early Monday.

Yurish was shot and killed by two West Virginia State Police troopers as he moved toward his wife with a butcher block knife, police have said.

In February, Yurish's mother, Frances Yurish, used her house on Winchester Avenue in Martinsburg as surety to have her son released from jail on a $50,000 bail. The house's value was estimated at $36,000.

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"The State represents that the death of the Defendant has no bearing on the forfeiture of the Defendant's bond because the party in interest is the bond surety holder, (Frances) Yurish," according to a copy of a motion to forfeit bail that was filed by Assistant Prosecutor Joshua Henline.

When Michael Yurish, 51, was killed he was free on bail on a charge of attempted murder, stemming from a Nov. 17, 2004, attack on his estranged wife.

Henline said that he strongly advised the family against the surety bond, citing Yurish's "dangerous nature," according to the motion.

Henline did not return messages seeking comment.

Harley O. Wagner, who represented Michael Yurish, had not heard of the motions when reached Wednesday evening.

"Rest assured, if the state means to attempt such a shameful act as attempting to take a home away from a widowed senior citizen who just lost her son in such a tragic fashion, let me be clear that every resource available to (the law firm of) Mills & Wagner would be used to fight such a shameful, heartless act," he said.

Wagner said he does not know Frances Yurish's exact age, but said she is in her 70s.

"It would be laughable, if it wasn't so shameful," Wagner said.

West Virginia State Police Cpl. R.T. Dyroff investigated the case in November. He said that Yurish's wife, Joy Yurish, had filed for divorce about two weeks earlier but had delayed telling her husband because she was afraid of his response.

On Nov. 17, Michael Yurish grabbed his wife, forced her into their bedroom and threw her onto their bed, records state. He sat on her chest and, after she said she planned to continue seeking a divorce, picked up an extension cord and said, "Now you're gonna die," records state.

Yurish pulled the cord tight around his wife's neck but she was able to get her fingers between the cord and her neck and kicked him, records state.

After Joy Yurish said she wanted to work things out and that she would not tell anyone about the attack, Michael Yurish put the extension cord down, police said.

Michael Yurish originally was charged with domestic battery, but Henline later upgraded the charge to attempted murder.

Yurish was released on bail Feb. 10, 2005, and went to a hospital in Morgantown, W.Va., for a mental evaluation. A condition of his bail was that he have no contact with his wife.

On Monday, Yurish entered his wife's house at 92 Hedrick Ave. in Martinsburg. Joy Yurish used a panic alarm and was contacted by a 911 dispatcher who directed police to the house, police have said.

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