Four in race to replace retiring commonwealth’s attorney in Prince William County

InsideNOVA, March 13, 2019

By Emily Sides

The number of candidates for the Prince William County area’s top prosecutor is growing ahead of a March 28 primary deadline.

Former Prince William County Supervisor Mike May and Manassas lawyer Tim Olmstead are running for the Republican nomination, and local lawyers Amy Ashworth and Tracey Lenox are running for the Democratic nomination.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Ebert announced in February that he will not seek re-election. He was first elected in 1968.

Area Republicans will hold a canvass primary from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 4, with polling locations around the county and in Manassas and Manassas Park. Area Democrats will hold a primary June 11. Candidates running as independents have until June 11 to file for the General Election ballot in November.

The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office prosecutes criminal and traffic cases from Prince William County and Manassas, and all felonies committed in Manassas Park and the towns of Dumfries, Quantico, Occoquan and Haymarket. The position supervises more than 20 assistant commonwealth’s attorneys.

Candidates

May is a private attorney who represented the Occoquan District on the county Board of Supervisors from 2007 until his bid for Ebert’s seat in 2015. The youngest person to serve on the county Board of Supervisors, May challenged Ebert in 2015 and lost by slightly more than 3 percentage points.

Olmstead previously worked as an assistant commonwealth’s attorney for Ebert and currently is a criminal law attorney at Olmstead & Olmstead in Manassas, where he works with his wife, Sevda Olmstead, who is also a lawyer.

While working as a law clerk for the county, Olmstead helped on the D.C. Sniper cases against John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo. After the convictions, Olmstead was hired as an assistant commonwealth’s attorney for the county, according to a news release.

“As your next commonwealth’s attorney, I will use my experience to be a tough prosecutor, ensure that justice is delivered fairly on behalf of victims and guarantee that the citizens of Prince William County have a qualified voice advocating on their behalf,” Olmstead said in a statement.

Ashworth worked as a prosecutor for the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office for 11 years, handling special victims’ unit cases involving child sexual and physical abuse, homicide, adult rape and sexual assault, according to a news release.

Now, Ashworth is a partner at the Farrell and Croft law firm that handles custody, divorce, family law and criminal defense cases in Manassas. She has been a lawyer in the county for 23 years. She was a prosecutor representing Manassas Park and the town of Haymarket, and worked as an assistant attorney for the county.

Lenox, a lawyer and Manassas resident, said she has 25 years of criminal trial experience. She said she would be committed to a more diverse staff at the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office and would create a fair system for all communities. Also, for more than a year Lenox has served on the board for the Evidence Based Decision Making Initiative, which aims to address overcrowding of the regional jail and increase public safety for Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park.

“I feel super strongly that there are things to be done, and I already have the background to do them,” Lenox said.

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