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Lawyer's license has been suspended

September 21, 2006|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - A Bunker Hill, W.Va., attorney charged in the stabbing death of his ex-wife had his license to practice law in West Virginia suspended by the state Supreme Court of Appeals in August 2005.

Stephen R. Fielder, 57, of 9280 Winchester Ave., was one of 19 lawyers to have their licenses suspended, effective Aug. 24, 2005, records maintained by The West Virginia State Bar's Office of Disciplinary Council show.

The state's high court suspended the attorneys' licenses until they complied with mandatory continuing legal education and reporting requirements mandated by the State Bar and reconciled financial penalties or other requirements imposed by the West Virginia Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Commission, records show.

Officials with the State Bar's Office of Disciplinary Council on Wednesday confirmed Fielder's license still was suspended.

Fielder had been handling bankruptcy cases and practicing law in the area since about 1985, said defense attorney B. Craig Manford.

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Fielder was charged with first-degree murder by West Virginia State Police in the death of Debra Ann Fielder, 49, and remains at Eastern Regional Jail without bond. A preliminary hearing is expected to be held Monday.

The Fielders divorced in December 2002 after seven years of marriage and Stephen Fielder married another woman June 21, 2003, in Bunker Hill, according to county records.

Despite the divorce, investigators determined that Debra Fielder might have been residing with her ex-husband at least until Aug. 11, the last day police have said she was seen alive.

On that day, telephone records show Fielder contacted her doctor in Martinsburg from her ex-husband's residence and advised the staff she was residing with him, according to a complaint filed Monday by State Police Trooper F.H. Edwards.

Three days later, video surveillance equipment at Wal-Mart in Martinsburg captured Stephen Fielder purchasing gym weights and luggage, Edwards said.

On Aug. 16, Fielder's automobile insurance provider received a cash payment for the victim's policy, Edwards said.

An employee who handled the transaction could not eliminate Debra Fielder as the individual who the made the payment after being shown a photograph of the victim, Edwards said.

On Aug. 20, dismembered human remains of a white female were found inside two suitcases along Back Creek in western Berkeley County near the community of Shanghai, W.Va. The woman was identified as Debra Fielder through a comparison of dental records on Sept. 6., Edwards said.

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