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Lawyer accused in wife's death enters not guilty plea

March 06, 2007|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The lawyer for a Bunker Hill, W.Va., attorney accused in the grisly killing of his ex-wife in August 2006 entered a not-guilty plea on behalf of his client in Berkeley County Circuit Court on Monday.

Attorney B. Craig Manford entered the plea for Stephen Randolph Fielder of 9280 Winchester Ave., who was indicted last month on one count of first-degree murder in the death of Debra Ann Fielder.

A trial was scheduled by 23rd Judicial Circuit judge David H. Sanders to begin July 31. Prosecuting Attorney Pamela J. Games-Neely told Sanders she expected the trial to last possibly a week.

In jail since September, Fielder, 56, is accused of stabbing his ex-wife multiple times. She was last seen alive Aug. 11, 2006. Her dismembered body was placed in several suitcases with gym weights allegedly purchased from Wal-Mart in Martinsburg and discarded in or along Back Creek in western Berkeley County, police have said.

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Fielder's body was not immediately identifiable when found Aug. 20 by two people fishing in the creek near a bridge over the stream at the intersection of Buck Hill Road and Tuscarora Pike.

A bankruptcy attorney, Fielder's license to practice law in West Virginia was suspended in August 2005, records maintained by The West Virginia State Bar's Office of Disciplinary Council show.

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