CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has hired a third employee from the state Ethics Commission.
On Thursday, Morrisey announced the hiring of Maryclaire Akers, a former Kanawha County assistant prosecutor who worked the past four months as general counsel at the Ethics Commission.
Akers will join the attorney general's "working group tasked with looking at [West Virginia's] drug-abuse epidemic," Morrisey said. As an assistant attorney general, Akers also will handle consumer-protection cases.
"She is a well-respected attorney in the Kanawha Valley, and she will bring years of prosecutorial experience to the [Consumer Protection] Division and the working group with the office that is evaluating the problems with prescription drug abuse in the state," Morrisey said in a news release.
In January, Morrisey hired away the Ethics Commission's deputy counsel, Marty Wright. Morrisey's office also hired Ethics Commission investigator Gordon Ingold, a retired West Virginia State Police trooper.
Wright now heads up Morrisey's new public-integrity unit, which the new attorney general said he established to investigate public corruption. Ingold is an investigator in the Consumer Protection Division.
Akers' last day at the Ethics Commission was Thursday. She starts at the Attorney General's Office Aug. 12.
"I am excited by the opportunity to use my prosecutorial experience to assist in the attorney general prescription-drug fight, as well as to aid consumers that have been wronged by scams and other unscrupulous individual and businesses," Akers said in a prepared statement.
Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants fired Akers in February but would not state his reasons for dismissing her. Akers handled criminal cases at the office for 13 years under five administrations and was widely considered one of the county's top assistant prosecutors.
She was hired as an assistant prosecutor in 2000 under then-Prosecuting Attorney Bill Forbes. She handled dozens of high-profile murder cases in her tenure, including the prosecutions of Thomas Mallo, who, as a 14-year-old, stabbed his elderly neighbor to death in 2009, and Shawn Thomas Lester, who admitted to shooting and killing one of three people with a scoped rifle in 2003.