Updated March 27, 2018 - 8:59 pm
Shalena Earnheart, an accused thief who claimed ownership of a dead woman’s house in Las Vegas late last year, has been arrested and charged with forgery.
Earnheart, 27, filed a deed showing that the late Carole Barnish had supposedly transferred ownership to her of the home at 809 Palmhurst Drive, in the western Las Vegas Valley.
She also launched a probate case to take over Barnish’s estate, filing a purported will, supposedly drawn up by Barnish, that gives Earnheart her bank accounts and all other property.
The criminal complaint against Earnheart, filed March 5 in Las Vegas Justice Court, alleges that the deed and the will are forgeries.
Earnheart was arrested March 13 and is being held in the Clark County Detention Center, jail logs show. She is scheduled to appear at a preliminary court hearing May 9.
Court records show that she is represented by the Clark County public defender’s office. An attorney for Earnheart could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Barnish, 71, died in her house in August. Earnheart, who both filed the deed and started the probate case in December, claimed in court papers that she was Barnish’s “only help” and “constant companion” for many years.
But multiple neighbors, including a few who have lived there for decades, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal they had never seen or heard of Earnheart until she took title to the house, near the intersection of Charleston Boulevard and Buffalo Drive.
Marlo Conner, a longtime neighbor who was given power of attorney for Barnish, told the Review-Journal that Earnheart had tried to sell the home “multiple times.”
Barnish’s purported signatures on the deed and the will don’t match, and the notaries who supposedly stamped and signed them each said they didn’t.
Conner’s attorney also said in court papers that Earnheart and her associates had “repeatedly broken into and completely ransacked” Barnish’s house and another home nearby that she owned, taking jewelry, cash and other items.
Before she tried taking over Barnish’s estate, Earnheart was arrested in November on larceny charges. She was accused of stealing a Chevrolet pickup, a Honda ATV and a 9 mm Glock handgun from a man at a gas station, police and court records show.
According to her arrest report in that case, a Las Vegas police officer found a “glass smoking pipe with residue” in a car she was in, and Earnheart said that the pipe was hers and that she smoked methamphetamine out of it.
Meanwhile, a Metropolitan Police Department detective said in a February report, as part of the Barnish case, that Earnheart had an outstanding warrant from Nebraska for fraud-related charges.