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Shriver claims ineffective counsel

By Staff | Mar 25, 2015


Staff Writer

The Honorable Judge Mark A. Karl, residing over his final cases in Tyler County, came to court on Thursday prepared to put a close to a long-standing case in Tyler County.

Sentencing for Howard Paul Shriver was set for Thursday. Shriver was found guilty by a jury of his peers on Jan. 9 after a three-day trial. He had been charged with several felony offenses including attempted murder in the second degree.

On Thursday, Jay Gerber, council for Shriver, advised the court he could no longer be effective in representing Shriver. He told Judge Karl that Shriver had filed a complaint against him with the State Ethics Board and, among other things, had accused him of ineffective, unethical counsel and lying. Gerber, retained by Shriver, said he would like to withdraw as counsel for his client.

Judge Karl said, “I have 12 days left on the bench before my retirement.” Turning to Shriver he said, “You have been found guilty on 10 counts by a jury, for some reason you think you had an alibi. You have blamed everyone else but yourself.”

Karl then told Gerber he had done an outstanding job representing Shriver. “I was very satisfied with the way you handled the case,” Karl told him. “I am going to permit you to withdraw as his attorney and you will no longer have to testify in this matter.”

Karl said he would appoint the Public Defender’s Office in Charleston to handle the case. He also said he would not allow any post-trial bond and remanded Shriver back to jail, ordering him to return to court on April 2. Karl also dismissed the complaint of unethical conduct by Gerber, filed by Shirver with the court.

Shriver continues to maintain his innocence in the case and is consulting with the Veterans Association and the West Virginia Law Department.

Daniel S. Finley, 26, of 201 Dodd Street, Middlebourne, also appeared before Judge Karl on Thursday, with his attorney Brent Clyburn.

Finley pleaded guilty on Nov. 6, 2014, in Tyler County Circuit Court to sexual assault in the third degree. He had been sentenced to one to five years in the State Penitentiary for Men per a plea agreement, with credit for time served. The sentence was suspended and he was placed on three years probation to be supervised by the Wetzel-Tyler Probation Office. After that term is fulfilled, he will be placed on 10 years probation to be supervised by the regional sex offender office. He also must registrar as a sex offender for life and pay the cost of his prosecution.

Since Finley had difficulty getting into counseling and having doctors’ evaluations completed, along with other testing, the imposition of the sentence had been delayed. On Thursday Judge Karl imposed the sentence and ruled it start immediately.