PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Update: 2/17/2017 10:55 A.M.
Former Parkersburg finance director Ashley Flowers pleads guilty to two misdemeanor child endangerment charges.
Flowers told Judge Robert Waters Friday morning there were, in her words, a lot of things going on when the incident happened on February 11, 2015.
She was estranged from her husband, who she believed had tampered with her phone.
She said she went to Grand Central Mall that night to resolve the phone problem.
Flowers explained she left her children in her car for the sake of their privacy.
"I have been diagnosed with PTSD, from abuse as a child," she said. "Time escaped me, and I made a mistake, and I greatly regret that, and I have done everything I can to make sure that would never happen again."
Sentencing is set for April 17. She could get up to a year in prison.
Update: 11/17/2016 11:15 A.M.
The trial of former Parkersburg finance director Ashley Flowers is now set for February 22nd, 2017.
Her trial was scheduled to take place November 15, but was continued because a key out-of-town witness was unable to appear in court.
Update: 11/7/2016 5:40 P.M.
A judge Monday denied a request to continue the trial of Ashley Flowers, now set for November 15.
Update: 8/22/2016 5:30 P.M.
A new date is set for Ashley Flowers' child endangerment trial.
Flowers received the new trial date-and a new attorney-in Wood County Circuit Court Monday.
Her trial date is now set for November 15th, and Joe Munoz has been appointed her new attorney..
Update: 8/11/2015 4:25 P.M.
The already-delayed trial of Parkersburg's former finance director could be delayed even further.
Ashley Flowers says she wants a new attorney.
Flowers told Judge Robert Waters Thursday she isn't happy with the representation of attorney Eric Powell.
She currently faces trial in eleven days, accused of leaving her children alone in a car parked in mid-winter at Grand Central Mall.
She did not say specifically why she wasn't satisfied with Powell's representation.
Powell told the court he understood she had been talking to other people-including other attorneys-about the matter.
"She voices displeasure and wants new counsel," Powell explained. "I've been fortunate to have her this long. But at this point, I'll take her position; she does not want me as counsel at this point."
Before Flowers made her request, Judge Waters rejected Powell's request for a second expert to evaluate Flowers' state of mind at the time of the February, 2015 incident.
Flowers and her counsel have argued she was in withdrawl at the time from the prescription medication Xanax.
An expert for the state already has completed a similar evaluation.
Judge Waters stated Flowers is allowed to seek another attorney, there's a "99% chance" the August 23 trial would again be delayed.
Update: 6/28/2016 5:10 P.M.
Delayed several times, Ashley Flowers' trial on child neglect charges is still set for late August.
But the evidence to be considered in that trial is still under discussion.
The former Parkersburg finance director has an evaluation scheduled for next month, about her withdrawl from parescription medication at the time, and how that affected her actions.
Her attorney also wants to include in her upcoming trial, other things then going on in here life, including her alleged affair with then-Parkersburg mayor Bob Newell.
"A possible job loss, the interactions with Bob Newell, the media attention in this case," said Attorney Eric Powell. "I would contend the stress on Ms. Flowers would be an issue in this case, as far as Dr. Byer is concerned."
Prosecutors say the case should be based on the danger posed to Flowers' children at the time, because of the weather and the children being a potential target of predators.
There will be at least one more pre-trial hearing before Flowers' scheduled August 23rd trial. That hearing is scheduled for August 11th.
UPDATE 5/16/16 4:18 PM
Parkersburg's former finance director Ashley Flowers headed to court Monday for a status hearing on her child neglect case.
After little discussion, it's clear another status hearing is necessary before trial can begin.
Flowers' lawyer says he will not be arguing an insanity defense, an argument the state believed to be the case.
Instead, they'll be focusing on diminished capacity, caused by Flowers' withdrawal from Xanax.
Judge Waters ordered the defense to clearly state their defense within the next ten days.
After this, the state can begin to consult an expert on the effect of Xanax withdrawal on Flowers.
"We'd have to have an order from the court to obtain her medical records to provide to whoever the expert would be to review that," said Assistant State Prosecutor Patrick Lefebure. "This sounds different than what we were dealing with. Or at least my perception of what it was earlier."
Flowers' next status hearing will be in late June.
Her trial date is set for August 23.
UPDATE 4/25/16 2:04 PM
Parkersburg's former finance director Ashley Flowers was supposed to head to trial Tuesday for charges of child neglect. After meeting with Judge Waters, that's no longer the case.
Flowers' legal team wants one of her doctors, and two former attorneys that represented her during her divorce, to be witnesses.
Her lawyers say their testimony would help address Flowers' state of mind around the time period of the alleged crime, like the fact that she was going through Xanax withdrawal.
The state responded they weren't notified in time and wanted to deny these witnesses from testifying. They also argued they needed time to prepare witnesses of their own.
Another issue is the prosecution wants to leave Flowers' alleged affair with former Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell out of the proceedings.
On the other hand, Flowers' lawyers say all the publicity and scandal surrounding it directly relates to the case and want to be able to address it.
In the end, to allow the state time to prepare and to keep from blocking these witnesses from appearing, the judge decided to delay the trial.
Another status hearing is set for May 16.
The **other** issue involving Parkersburg's former finance director is heard in court.
Ashley Flowers' trial on child neglect charges is now set for late April.
It had been scheduled to begin Tuesday, February 2.
Flowers, who said she had an affair with former Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell, is accused of leaving her children in her car while shopping at the Grand Central Mall last February seventh.
At a hearing Monday: testimony from two Vienna police officers who questioned her that night.
"Whenever she made her statement, that she was inside (the mall) at the cellphone store, getting her phone checked because she believed it was bugged," said Sgt. Robert Pfeifer, "and she stated she came out every five minutes to check on her children, and we knew that not to be true. She didn't make any statement that anyone else was present, or supposed to be present, to take care of the children during the time she was inside."
Flowers' attorney, Eric Powell, argued she wasn't given her rights at the time she was arrested.
In admitting her statements to the police into evidence, Circuit Judge Robert Waters rejected that argument.