Trial postponed for man accused of starving children

Jesse A. Lafferty of Berkeley County was indicted on felony charges of child abuse

September 06, 2011
  • Lafferty

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The trial for a Berkeley County man accused of starving two children in his care and locking them in the basement of his home was postponed until Jan. 24 to allow his new attorney more time to prepare for the case.

Jesse A. Lafferty, 33, of 292 Labonte Drive, along with his girlfriend, Karen S. Boback, were indicted on felony charges of child abuse causing serious bodily injury, gross child neglect creating substantial risk of bodily injury or death and conspiracy.

Defense attorney Christopher J. Prezioso was appointed last month to represent Lafferty after his public defender, Joseph Whiteoak III, requested to withdraw from the case, citing an ethical conflict involving his office.

In other circuit court action Tuesday:

• Wilkes scheduled a Jan. 17 trial date for Ashley R. Shreve, the attorney who is charged with setting a fire at the Martinsburg law firm where she had worked in September 2007 and then attempting to set another fire there in April 2008.

Shreve, 30, was indicted in October 2010 on one count of second-degree arson, one count of attempted arson and two counts of conveying a bomb threat.

The trial was continued to allow more time for certain evidence to be tested and Shreve's attorney, J. Michael Cassell, told the judge he would need time to prepare for the trial after receiving the results.

Shreve had an "active" membership with the West Virginia State Bar, according to the organization's website Tuesday.

Wilkes also scheduled a new trial date for Ronald. D. Smith, who was indicted in May 2011 on two counts of sexual assault and one count of sexual assault third degree.

• 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Gray Silver III on Tuesday denied a motion to modify the bond set for a man charged in the violent attack and armed robbery of former Berkeley County Commissioner Howard Strauss in July.

Ronald Lee Shamburg, 23, who is charged with armed robbery, malicious wounding, burglary and three counts of conspiracy, is being held in Eastern Regional Jail on $105,000 cash-only bond, according to court and jail records.

Silver said Berkeley County Magistrate Harry L. Snow "got it right" when he previously denied a similar motion in a July magistrate court hearing.

A preliminary hearing in magistrate court concerning the charges filed against Shamburg is scheduled to be held on Sept. 26, according to court records.

Shamburg is one of three people accused in the attack of Strauss, who told police he was beaten in the face and shocked multiple times with a Taser after they charged into his Falling Waters, W.Va., residence, according to court documents.

— Matthew Umstead

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