Criminal Justice

Pillsbury Winthrop Tax Attorney May Have Been Victim of Domestic Murder-Suicide, Authorities Say


A 35-year-old tax associate at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman has been found slain, apparently shot to death, in her Washington, D.C.-area home. Authorities are saying she may have been a victim of domestic violence.

Clare Lenore Stoudt, a mother of five who graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in 2008, was found dead on Saturday night, according to the Baltimore Sun.

The father of her three youngest children, Reginald Van Graves, 49, also was found apparently shot to death in the Howard County home, and a gun was in the vicinity, authorities say. A custody case over the three children, aged 2, 5 and 7, had begun less than a week earlier in Howard County Circuit Court.

The Howard County Times reports that police say the deaths may have been a murder-suicide. Autopsies have not yet been completed, however, and the investigation has not concluded.

Christine Nicolaides Kearns, who serves as managing partner of the Pillsbury firm’s Washington, D.C., office, described Stoudt as a special person who didn’t have it easy, attending college and law school at night and online. “She was universally loved and admired around here because of her unconventional route,” Kearns tells the Sun.

In a written statement, Kearns called Stoudt “a gifted tax lawyer, a loving mother and a truly beautiful person,” saying that those at the firm are “deeply saddened by her loss, and by the tragic circumstances of her death.”

Graves had been accused of battery by another woman at some point between 1991 and 1993, the Times reports. However, there is no indication that he was ever convicted in such a case.

Related earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Ex-White House Attorney Charged in Attempted Murder of His Wife, a Skadden Lawyer”

ABAJournal.com: “Unanswered Question in Husband’s Apparent Murder of Texas Judge: Why”

ABAJournal.com: “Girlfriend Charged in Lawyer’s Murder Is Now Accused of Defrauding Him, Too”

ABAJournal.com: “Sometime Girlfriend Arrested on Suspicion of Murdering Attorney, After Eviction Filing”

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