CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — Michelle “Shelly” Michael, who was convicted in 2007 on one count of first degree arson and one count of first degree murder for killing her husband, was in court with a new attorney Monday requesting a retrial, saying her original attorney, Tom Dyer, insufficiently constitutionally defended her and provided an ineffective counsel.
12 News heard from Dyer, a defense attorney with more than 30 years of experience, on Tuesday morning. Dyer said that claiming that a defendant was insufficiently constitutionally defended isn’t uncommon and that as a defense attorney, he often advises his clients to do it.
“It’s always the last card in the deck that the defendant has to play,” Dyer said.
Though, Dyer did say that he was surprised that Michael waited this long to “play it.” It’s been about 16 years since her 2007 conviction.
It is unusual, Dyer said, that he hasn’t yet been contacted by Michael’s current lawyer, and that he was not present in Monongalia County Circuit Court for Monday’s hearing. He said under normal circumstances, he would have been invited to be there.
Dyer said he could not comment further.
Michael’s defense has until March to file all the necessary paperwork in an attempt to get her a new trial. From there, the state will have until August 2024 to answer.
Michael is serving a life sentence in Lakin Correctional Center and according to the West Virginia Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s website, she will be eligible for parole on June 2, 2027.