Tag Archive | Steven DeMocker

Stockbroker Steven DeMocker Faces Sentencing In Ex-wife Carol Kennedy’s Slaying

Steven DeMocker

PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) — A Prescott stockbroker convicted of killing his ex-wife could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Prosecutors say Steven DeMocker bludgeoned Carol Kennedy with a golf club at the home the two once shared in Prescott, shattering her skull. The supposed murder weapon never was found.

Prosecutors relied heavily on circumstantial evidence in securing a conviction on first-degree murder and other charges. They argued that DeMocker killed Kennedy to cash in on her life insurance policy and to avoid alimony payments.

The 60-year-old DeMocker is scheduled to be sentenced Friday in Yavapai County Superior Court.

He has maintained that he is innocent. DeMocker’s attorneys say authorities didn’t properly investigate Kennedy’s death and that another man could have killed her. She was 53 when she was killed in 2008.

Source: AP

About these ads

Steven DeMocker Murder Trial Draws To Close

Steven DeMocker 12

The last words Carol Kennedy’s mother heard from her daughter on the phone were “Oh no.”

It was during that call, prosecutors say, that Kennedy’s ex-husband Steven DeMocker emerged from hiding in the trees and bludgeoned the 53-year-old woman to death with a golf club.

Prosecutors argued that the motive for the ex-husband, who once earned $500,000 annually as a financial adviser but was in deep debt, was to avoid $6,000 in monthly alimony payments shortly after the couple’s divorce settlement and to cash in on a $750,000 life insurance policy.

More than five years after the July 2008 killing, the case is drawing closer to an end. Jurors found him guilty of first-degree murder and six other charges in October and a judge this week denied a motion for a new trial. Prosecutors hope to send the 60-year-old DeMocker away to prison for life while he maintains he is innocent.

“Make no mistake, this was a beating murder committed by an enraged, hateful defendant,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

DeMocker’s attorneys argued before a judge Wednesday that the evidence wasn’t sufficient to convict their client. The judge disagreed and set another court hearing for Jan. 24 to give defense attorneys a chance to argue for a more lenient sentence.

Prosecutors relied heavily on circumstantial evidence to land a conviction. The supposed murder weapon — a 7-wood — never was found, and authorities didn’t have DNA to tie DeMocker to the scene, witnesses or a confession.

Prosecutors told jurors that DeMocker knew Kennedy’s routine of running in the woods behind her home, plotted the murder, staged her home to make it look accidental and filed for the insurance payout. He was out of cell phone contact for hours after Kennedy’s death, which prosecutors said was uncharacteristic, and stashed money and clothing on a golf course near his home.

Prosecutors told jurors that shoe prints found near Kennedy’s home matched footwear that DeMocker owned and that bicycle tracks were of the same tread as a bicycle that DeMocker rode to Kennedy’s home.

Authorities arrived at Kennedy’s home to find her skull shattered. Experts testified during trial that the breaks were similar in shape to a golf club. DeMocker had a golf club cover in his home that authorities saw but then disappeared and was later turned over to DeMocker’s attorney. Prosecutors say that tied him to the murder weapon.

Despite a painstaking search for blood and other evidence in DeMocker’s car, washing machine, pipe drains, and at his home and office, authorities came up empty-handed, said defense attorney Craig Williams.

“The reason they didn’t find anything is because he didn’t do it,” Williams said.

There’s been no shortage of bizarre details in the case: The medical examiner transported Kennedy’s body in the bed of his pickup truck for a forensic anthropologist examination. The original judge collapsed in his chambers and later died from a brain tumor. DeMocker bought books on how to evade authorities, and the case has been filled with conflicting evidence and allegations of extramarital affairs.

Ruth Kennedy, of Nashville, had no idea what happened to her daughter 1,600 miles away in Prescott when the call dropped that July afternoon. Kennedy’s family reached out to DeMocker to check on Carol Kennedy, but they couldn’t immediately reach him by phone. Ruth Kennedy eventually called police, who found her daughter in a pool of blood, her skull shattered by at least seven blows to the head.

DeMocker’s attorneys claim the killing could have been committed by a man who lived with Kennedy at the time but who wasn’t properly investigated. Investigators dismissed him as a suspect after his alibi of taking care of his son checked out.

DeMocker told authorities that he loved Kennedy and despite bickering over finances, they had a friendly chat over coffee a few days earlier and talked about reconciling.

DeMocker arranged to have his younger daughter, Charlotte, 22, send an anonymous email from a cafe in 2009 claiming that gang members killed Kennedy, according to trial testimony. He also floated a story about a “voice in the (air) vent” at the Camp Verde jail that told him Kennedy was “killed by two guys from Phoenix.”

Carol Kennedy’s close friend, Debbie Wren Hill, told Judge Gary Donahoe in a letter that Kennedy adored DeMocker but he also caused her great emotional damage because of his transgressions.

“My first fear was that she had taken her life … I always believed Steve would be the death of her, either by a stress-related illness or because she couldn’t withstand any more heartache,” Hill wrote. “When my mother told me Carol had been murdered, I just said ‘Steve.’”

DeMocker was arrested while working at UBS Financial Services in October 2008. He was denied Kennedy’s life insurance payment because he was a suspect in her murder. Most of the money ultimately went to pay attorneys in his first trial, which ended abruptly when his defense team quit, citing a conflict of interest.

Williams said DeMocker was not angry with his wife over money, a statement that was contradicted through trial testimony. Defense attorneys said DeMocker was on a bicycle ride during the time Kennedy was killed and made no attempt to hide the scratches on his body that he got while out in the woods when he showed up to his ex-wife’s house that night to console his daughter.

Kennedy was a spiritual person who loved her flower garden and whose art career was ready to take off, said her brother, John Kennedy.

“He murdered a beautiful woman, and he did it for the lowest of reasons — for money,” he said.

Source: AP/FELICIA FONSECA

 

DeMocker sentencing delayed until next year

Democker

PRESCOTT – The sentencing for Steven DeMocker, found guilty in the murder of his ex-wife, will be delayed until at least January, according to a court document.

Superior Court Judge Gary E. Donahoe issued the ruling on Thursday, vacating the planned sentencing date of Nov. 13 in response to a request from the defense for more time.

Donahoe said that he would delay sentencing “because of the conduct of (YCSO) Captain (David) Rhodes.”

DeMocker’s attorney, Craig Williams, accused Rhodes, commander of the Camp Verde jail, of “questioning” DeMocker after the verdicts were read without an attorney present, even though DeMocker reminded Rhodes that he was still represented by legal counsel.

Williams made the allegation in a request for videotape, notes, and transcripts of what was said in that conversation. Deputy County Attorney Steve Young filed a reply indicating that none of those exist. Williams asked for a continuance to investigate the situation.

Donahoe is ordering that defense attorneys be given time to interview Rhodes and “any other YCSO personnel that were present during the interview.”

Donahoe is also allowing more time to hear oral arguments on the defense attorneys’ motions for a new trial and to throw out the jury verdicts. He had previously planned to hear them the same day as the sentencing, but now Donahoe has slated the motions for Jan. 8, and “any new sentencing date will be set after the court rules” on those motions.

“No further continuances will be granted,” he added.

Source:  Scott Orr, The Daily Courier

Steven Democker Closing Arguments Begin Today

z steven

PRESCOTT – With both the prosecution and the defense having rested their cases in the Steven DeMocker murder trial, the judge set closing arguments for this morning, rebuffing protests from the lead defense attorney, who had asked for a postponement till Tuesday because he was “just not prepared.”

DeMocker is accused of bludgeoning to death his ex-wife, Carol Kennedy, with a golf club in July 2008.

On Thursday, Superior Court Judge Gary E. Donahoe told the attorneys that, with all witnesses having been called, he was ready to proceed to closing arguments today.

DeMocker lawyer Craig Williams said that he’s had “no opportunity to prepare for closings,” and, as he has previously, said the county attorney has “an army of people (to prepare material) and we don’t.”

Williams also pointed out that the victims in the case, notably DeMocker’s two daughters, Katie and Charlotte, hadn’t been told the closing arguments would be held today. He said the state had, however, “made arrangements” for Kennedy’s mother, Ruth, to be in Prescott.

“Let’s stop right there,” Deputy County Attorney Steve Young said. “We didn’t arrange for her to come out. She did that on her own.” He added that the state had complied with victim notification laws.

Donahoe was unmoved by Williams’ objections. He said he felt Williams could be ready, because he had “seen Mr. Williams work,” and that victims should have known the trial was wrapping up and made plans to be available.

He said the 17 jurors were about ready for the trial to be over and did not want to make them wait until Tuesday, Oct. 2, to hold closing arguments.

“Would it be a terrible inconvenience for them to come in Tuesday after the defense has had time to prepare properly?” Williams asked, but he did not receive an answer.

Thursday’s testimony started off with a reading of the transcript of an interview given by Terry Carmody in February 2012. Carmody, a 33-year police veteran who ran a detective agency, was to be called by the defense as a law enforcement expert, but he died in March.

The interview, done by Young and Deputy County Attorney Jeff Paupore, included a scathing review of the police work done by the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office at Kennedy’s murder scene.

He also looked at the investigation of the death of James Knapp, who lived in Kennedy’s guesthouse and whose death by gunshot in January 2009 was ruled a suicide.

Carmody said there were too many people inside the crime scene tape at Kennedy’s home, many of whom he suggested were there “just to satisfy their own curiosity.” He didn’t believe the house was searched properly, noting that investigators came back to search again several days later. He also expressed surprise that Knapp was allowed into the guesthouse on the property during an active investigation.

Carmody said Knapp should have been treated as a suspect. “I would have brought Mr. Knapp down to the station and interviewed him,” he said.

He also cast doubt on Knapp’s alibi, noting that his son’s interview establishing that Knapp was with him at the time of the murder felt “coached” to him.

After the defense rested, the prosecution called one rebuttal witness, a longtime friend of James Knapp, Sean Jeralds.

Williams objected on the grounds that Jeralds, a professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, had come forward after reading a Daily Courier article that indicated Knapp was not a pilot.

Williams said using Jeralds to talk about Knapp’s character could lead to an “endless loop of witnesses,” but Donahoe disagreed.

“You’ve disparaged Mr. Knapp,” he said. “You’ve portrayed him as a murderer to this jury. This is the downside to the third-party culpability defense.”

Jeralds said he’d known Knapp since 1988 and that he did indeed hold several flight ratings, and that a current medical exam could have made him eligible to be an airline pilot.

The question, Williams asked, was whether he was being honest when he told doctors he “was a pilot” as his occupation. Jeralds said Knapp had never worked as a pilot.

Jeralds described Knapp as a “very funny individual” who, he said, “was a joy to be around.”

But, he said, Knapp changed after Kennedy’s murder, becoming very dark and depressed.

“He was convinced Mr. DeMocker was going to kill him,” Jeralds said, calling that an “excessive emotional reaction.”

When he got word that Knapp had shot himself, Jeralds said, “I wasn’t surprised. I was angry.”

Source:  Scott Orr, The Daily Courier

Latest on Steven DeMocker Murder Trial

Democker

PRESCOTT – The defense in the Steven DeMocker murder trial on Thursday put a forensic psychiatrist on the stand to do a post-mortem psychoanalysis of Jim Knapp.

DeMocker is accused of killing his ex-wife, Carol Kennedy, in 2008, but his attorneys have been working to convince the jury that Knapp, who lived in Kennedy’s guesthouse, was not properly investigated and could have been the murderer.

Knapp’s death by gunshot wound in January 2009 was ruled a suicide, but the defense has argued that it wasn’t necessarily self-inflicted.

Omri Berger, M.D., a forensic psychiatrist from San Francisco, was hired by the defense team to study Knapp’s records and “provide a mental health assessment and risk of violence and suicide.”

Berger said his study showed that, as he delved into Knapp’s background, “patterns emerged.” The patterns indicated anti-social traits, borderline personality disorder traits, deceitfulness, and, he continued, Knapp generally showed poor judgment, impulsivity and instability in his relationships.

Nevertheless, Berger said, “Around the time of his death, he didn’t have what we call ‘risk factors’ for suicide.”

DeMocker attorney Craig Williams hit hard the fact that Knapp, at one time, had a melanoma, which he’d had removed, but he continued to tell people he had life-threatening cancer.

“He had reported to multiple individuals that he had stage-four cancer,” Berger said, “and there was at least one instance where he reported that he had stage-three lymphoma,” neither of which were true.

Williams also asked about Knapp’s relationships with women; previous testimony suggested that, when he was rejected, he reacted violently.

A pattern of “overvaluing” the woman at first, then “devaluing” her when the relationship ended, was apparent, Berger said.

Deputy County Attorney Jeff Paupore was unimpressed. Before he spoke with Berger, he said, “I’d never heard of anyone going back after someone was dead and doing a retrospective psychological analysis.”

He also pointed out that Berger didn’t speak to anyone in person about Knapp, but instead relied on a stack of paper records six inches thick, and that this was Berger’s first criminal case as a forensic psychiatrist.

In response, Williams went back over the basics: Knapp claimed to be an orthopedic physician’s assistant, for which Berger said there was no evidence; he said he was a pilot, and again, there was no evidence of that; he told a doctor he was engaged a month after Julie Corwin had broken it off; and a month before his death, he was still telling people he had cancer, but the autopsy showed he did not.

The trial continues Tuesday.

Witness in Steven DeMocker Trial is Called to Testify Out of Order

steven democker

PRESCOTT – The defense in the Steven DeMocker murder trial on Friday called its first witness, despite the fact that the prosecution had not yet rested its case.

DeMocker is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his ex-wife, Carol Kennedy, who was found bludgeoned to death in her Williamson Valley home in July 2008.

The trial’s uneven pace led to a problem for the defense. As late as Wednesday, they expected to begin their case on Friday, but that didn’t happen, and the defense had a witness who had flown to Arizona to testify.

The judge agreed to allow the defense witness to take the stand out of order, and attorney Craig Williams called Kalispell, Mont., resident Julie Corwin.

The defense case hinges on the concept that the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office named DeMocker a suspect in the murder too quickly, without having investigated a number of other possible suspects, most notably James Knapp. Knapp, whose death by gunshot wound was ruled a suicide in 2009, was living in Kennedy’s guesthouse at the time of the murder.

Corwin explained that she met Knapp at an online dating website in August 2007. It was, she said, her first experience with online dating and she was “naïve.”

Soon, he was calling her every day, she said, and invited her to Prescott. She came, and when she met him at the airport, “the first impression I got was a sinking feeling. He didn’t appear the way I thought he was.” Corwin, a licensed physical therapist, said he appeared “frail and sickly-looking” and “medicated.”

They went to a football game in which one of his sons was playing, and she met Knapp’s ex-wife, Ann Saxerud. Although Corwin found her to be “a very kind-hearted individual,” she said it was clear “he was still very, very angry with her.”

Knapp went to Montana in November 2007 and he proposed to her, but she said it was too soon.

In January 2008, Knapp and Corwin took a week-long trip to Hawaii, where he gave her an engagement ring, and called her his fiancée. She went along with that, but began to have second thoughts by the time they flew home, and called Knapp to break off the relationship.

That, she said, was when Knapp became angry, telling her he had terminal cancer – the autopsy after his suicide determined he did not – and sending her threatening emails, including one that said, “You’re not getting off that easy.”

She began to “wonder what this man was capable of,” she said, adding she was worried “he going to hurt me or my family,” especially when Knapp sent similar emails to her parents.

She refused to argue, though, and he eventually stopped. His brother called Corwin when Knapp committed suicide.

In cross-examination, she admitted she’d never called police about the threats.

When her testimony was complete, YCSO Deputy Doug Brown, the case agent in this murder, took the stand for a third day.

Williams, who has suggested that Knapp knew about the blood-stained murder scene – and talked about it – before he had access to Kennedy’s house, said he was surprised by Thursday’s testimony that Brown had given Knapp a “heads-up” about the blood the day after the body was found, when he called Knapp to tell him he could go back home.

“The direct (examination) was the first time I heard that he knew about the blood,” Williams said. “You were aware that I was going to present evidence that he was talking to people” about the scene.

He pointed to a three-inch stack of reports, and said, “Nowhere in there did you report that you spoke with Jim Knapp about the blood, correct?”

“I did not,” Brown said.

The trial gets back underway Tuesday, when Williams will continue his cross-examination of Brown.

Source:  Prescott Daily Courier, Scott Orr

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter @TrialDivasS and @TrialDivasJ

Testimonies Week 1 – Steven DeMocker Trial

Steven DeMocker 12  Carol KennedyRuth Kennedy

The Steven DeMocker trial has moved along through its first week of testimony and not disappointed in providing the beginning details that have made this case so fascinating, puzzling and complex all in the same proceeding.  Upon completion of Carol Kennedy’s mother Ruth and her brother John on the stand, testimony shifted towards the insight into Steven DeMocker’s computer activities, email exchanges between him and Carol and importing the audience into the crime scene itself.  To begin the digital inception of DeMockers computer, President of Anonymizer, Mark Yturralde, took the hot seat and gave a break down on what anonymizer is and how it applied to the case.  He basically described an anonymizer as a product that allows a person to search the internet anonymously.  It creates an IP address through a NIMS that is not traced if one were to use their email when signing in to accounts and providing it throughout the internet.  While Yturralde did agree with the defense by saying it is a product utilized for protection, it was the digital shredder program purchased at the same time that led to further questions as to what it was DeMocker was trying to hide.  While the anonymizer is a protection mechanism, the digital shredder is one Yturralde says “is not necessarily for protection, it deletes and removes browsing history”.  This was a thorough description leaving The Trial Divas thankful for the breakdown, as he originally lost us when he said IP.

After Yturralde is complete on the stand, Department of Public Safety, Detective Paul Lindvay resumes his testimony from the previous day.  He continues on with discussion of internet searches found on DeMockers laptop and data discovered that was not deleted properly. Apparently DeMocker didn’t get the anonymizer in time, leaving fifteen days of activity for Lindvay to rummage through.  These fifteen days provided specifics on searches such as, how to stage a suicide, how to make a homicide look like a suicide, payments of life insurance money on a homicide and tips from a hit man on how to kill.  It is definitely disturbing to hear Lindvay provide a breakdown of all research conducted and especially jaunting knowing that a murder to fit these quests was committed in a short time frame after they were discovered.  The defense team cross examines Lindvay on another search DeMocker had done at the same time that was not previously mentioned.  Apparently while searching the words homicide, suicide, insurance payments and hitman, DeMocker looked up the website writing-world.com.  When asked about it, Lindvay confirmed the link was found and was a website for people who are interested in writing.  At this point heads are shaking knowing the idea the defense is trying to prove is that DeMocker was researching homicide, suicide, death and insurance claims as it pertained to a “supposed” mystery DeMocker wanted to write.  The jury during this time is listening with some intent and yet most seem to be not paying close attention, creating a problem the judge addresses at the end of the day.

Next up after internet searches was discussion related to email exchanges.  These interactions shed light on the contention between DeMocker and Carol with the defense pointing to a moment they considered heartfelt from Steven to Carol.  Throughout the emails Carol told DeMocker “My expenses are $11,000 a month, I have borrowed $20,000 from my parents and only have $9,000 left.” Following up with the question, “Where is all your money going Steve?”  At one point in an email, she asks DeMocker to view the financial breakdown and sternly informs him, “For the record, you are not paying.  You’re not allowed to claim payments made on credit card.  You claim that as alimony?  What planet are you on?”  In response to the demands Carol placed on DeMocker to follow their financial arrangement, he responds with “Wake up Carol, I net only $12,000 per month.  I have borrowed $40,000 from my parents.”  He later continues with, “There are lots of things I haven’t paid, that’s what happens when you run out of money.”  A month later the battle of finances continued as DeMocker responds to another email saying, “It’s a little exasperating on agreement that I have to spend next 8 years writing checks in large amounts each month.” Then on June 15, 2008 just a few weeks before Carol is found in her house on Bridlepath, DeMocker sends another email, “I will not be pushed any further Carol.

Detective Lindvay’s testimony finishes with Deputy Matt Taintor next up to take the stand testifying as first responder arriving at crime scene.  He broke down the events from the moment he received a call to respond to a “welfare check” made by Carol Kennedy’s mother.  During cross examination the defense questioned Taintor on his activities before he arrived at Carol’s home.  Apparently Taintor made a traffic stop shortly after he received the call from dispatch, delaying his inquiry on Carol.  This is one point for the defense team as The Trial Divas cocked our heads to the side wondering if we really just heard Taintor confirm he completed a traffic stop on the way to a situation that seemed fairly concerning.  Taintor explains he started over to Carol’s home at 8:19 pm with an arrival time of 8:54 pm.  Next Taintor explains his actions as he drives into the driveway on Bridlepath and parks.  He proceeds to the front door of the main house and knocks, with no answer.  He describes hearing the dogs bark as he walked around the house to clear the surroundings.  Taintor continues his stride over to the guesthouse doing a protective sweep of the interior and exterior of the building, leading him back to the main house and checking each window with his flashlight.  As he continued around the perimeter, Taintor eventually looked through one particular window where he saw Carol’s body laying on the ground.  It was then he notified dispatch as to what he saw and they in turn informed Taintor a Sergeant was on her way.

Even though Taintor knew backup was en route, he still called his Sergeant to inform her of the situation and then went back into his vehicle to wait for her arrival.  Once the Seargeant appeared on scene, neither one of them entered the home to check on Carol, they waited for four more deputies to show up before five of them chose to enter through the French doors that were unlocked the whole time.  The time the group of Deputies entered the home was approximately 9:35 pm, over an hour since the call had been dispatched to Taintor.  Once inside, they did a protective sweep of each room until the Seargeant eventually found Carol’s body in a room deemed as the office lying face down.  Pictures were shown of Carol Kennedy’s lifeless body, with blood surrounding her head.  Blood was splattered on the wall, desktop, room and throughout the area of her body.  Once the prosecution completed their line of questioning the defense spent the rest of the afternoon grilling Taintor on the lack of preservation of the crime scene.  When Taintor was asked if he took pictures of the tire marks or footprints in the driveway, his response was no.  His reply was the same when asked if any of the deputies were wearing covers on their feet before entering the home or if they preserved the glasses that were seen laying on the countertop next to Carol’s bloody body.  The defense continued by showing a picture of Carol with a Deputy standing next to her body in his boots and a bloody footprint on the other side.  Taintor confirmed that there were no pictures taken of the footprint and things only got worse as the defense showed a picture of a light switch with blood on it that had been smeared.  These Trial Divas were beginning to cringe after each question Taintor responded to, especially when once again we heard a no when Taintor was asked if he was wearing gloves.  Upon the conclusion of his testimony the defense sought some clarity as to why Taintor did not enter the home when he originally found the body.  He responded by saying, “I didn’t feel safe, I didn’t know what was going to be inside.  It was suspicious to see somebody down, but what would be gained by going in by myself and possibly getting injured?”

Watching Taintor’s interview The Trial Divas felt compassion as he appeared to feel he had done the best job he thought he could do.  Should he have gone inside, sure but then on the flip side of the coin Taintor is accurate when saying he didn’t know what was inside.  What if that were your husband, or father, or brother or son on duty risking his life?  It’s all perspective and what if’s and in the end those questions may cause problems.  Not to mention, the next question would be related to protocol in these situations.  What is the training that these deputies receive and are they in fact taught to go inside or wait for backup?  Watching Taintor step down from the witness chair he seemed relieved his testimony was over.  The jury is dismissed for the day with the Judge doing some housekeeping by reprimanding the attorneys for asking the same questions and talking about the same items repeatedly.  He gave an instruction that if the attorney’s “Continue to drag on I am going to impose a time limit.”  This was the conclusion to the fourth day of testimony leaving these Trial Divas ready to jaunt out of the courthouse so our stilettos could bring us back to the twenty first century and into the land of cushion for our tushes.  The hard wood chairs were not fit for a Diva and the fact that the only plug available for us was in the women’s restroom leaving many to walk in while we were charging our electronic devices…..but no worries, these Divas had our personal device and purse holders with us so no apparatus or accessory touched the ground!!! Court does not resume until Tuesday at 9:30 am which gives us plenty of time to a spa day over a bottle of Chardonnay with all our fellow Divas and Divos…cheers!!!  Until next week, The Trial Divas xoxo

You can follow us at Facebook or Twitter @TrialDivasS and TrialDivasJ

Trial for Steven DeMocker Finally Begins, Again!!!!

 z steven

Well in the land of trials there are always twists and turns that many don’t expect.  The Steven DeMocker trial that is being conducted in Northern Arizona out of the Yavapai County Courthouse is no different.  As a matter of fact this case is the epitome of, if it can go wrong it will go wrong.  The beginning of this train wreck began on July 2nd, 2008 just two days before Jodi Arias stabbed and killed Travis Alexander.  While these murders are so close in time, they differ in the fact that one was a jealous and obsessive rage, the other accused of death by greed.  To breakdown the case let’s begin with what DeMocker did for a living.  DeMocker’s occupation was in the financial industry as a stockbroker in Prescott, AZ.  His ex-wife and victim of the crime is Carol Kennedy, who was a teacher.  The prosecution brings forth evidence in hopes of proving that DeMocker murdered Carol by bludgeoning her with a golf club.  The motive being a $750,000 life insurance policy he would gain, coupled with the fact that he was supposed to begin paying $6000 a month alimony support payments to her.  Apparently Steven thought that was too much money and in lieu of his business dealings going bad, he had a plan that he felt would justify the ends to the means and keep him from sinking his ship.

Once Steven DeMocker was arrested for the crime of first degree murder, it began a whirlwind of disasters.  Throughout the proceedings there have been delays trumping even the Arias trial.  To begin there was a judge who stepped down from the bench, while a second judge ended up having a brain tumor and not to mention reassigning the case to a new division.  That is three judges who have touched this case making one wonder what merry go round is being conducted at the Yavapai County Courthouse.  Of course if three judges aren’t enough drama, the trial was declared a mistrial after “two of DeMocker’s attorneys dropped the case amid a state Bar investigation and allegations that they were paid from the victim’s death benefits”.  Ahhh, the money.  With DeMocker being a suspect in the murder of Carol Kennedy, the insurance company denied paying DeMocker any of the life insurance payment.  This means the two daughters would be the beneficiaries and recipients of the $750,000 payout.  It was later discovered “that the proceeds from Kennedy’s $750,000 life insurance policy were used to pay her accused killer’s attorney’s fees as DeMockers brother James DeMocker was accused of running interference with the life insurance funds the daughters had received.  This became a large component throughout the case as the prosecution made several attempts to depose DeMockers brother and yet was met with hesitation.  Eventually James DeMocker was subpoenaed to the Fairfax Circuit Court where he lived and it was there that Judge R. Terence Ney, ordered James DeMocker to make the trip to Arizona.  That order was complied with, reluctantly.

At this point The Trial Divas have actually kicked off their stilettos and curled up on the sofa with a nice glass of Barrrymore Pinot Grigio to continue the rest of this saga as James DeMocker is believed to know more information about the prosecutions key witness, James Knapp.  Mr. Knapp was the man who lived on the property in the guest house.  Other than Knapp, Carol lived with her two daughters and was often alone.  The interesting part to Knapp is that while he was the star witness for the prosecution, his testimony would no longer be needed as he was found dead with a gunshot to his chest.  The autopsy results came back that Mr. Knapp committed suicide with the prosecution question the timing of his death and the fact that James DeMocker had indeed been one of the last known individuals who had any contact with Knapp.

With this case winding up into more than a Lifetime movie there are subsequent issues regarding evidence and the defense claiming the prosecution had access to sealed documents engaging in prosecutorial misconduct when they obtained confidential defense documents.  This of course led the defense attorneys to do what defense attorneys do best and that is to submit a motion for a mistrial.  After reviewing all the evidence of the 52 page motion filed, the judge denied the request stating that there is no evidence to support that the prosecution intentionally invaded these private documents nor did they gain any advantage in doing so.  Of course even though the judge denied the motion the issue at hand caused the trial to be delayed an extra year as the court dealt with these problems.

Knowing that there have been cracks in the entire DeMocker case, the judge finally got it back on track and the trial began for the third time with opening arguments on July 19th, 2013.  The first witness took the stand on July 23rd, 2013 and it started with Carole’s neighbor Lyla Farr.  Farr’s testimony began with her walking into the room carrying a welcome smile to her face.  She is an older woman who was cooperative in speaking freely, sometimes too freely, about her neighbor and friend Carole Kennedy.  Farr and her horseback riding partner were the last two people to see Carole the day she was murdered.  In light of her killing, Farr has named a bush in Carol’s honor near the last spot she was standing the night of July 2nd, 2008.  She deems it Carol’s bush as she tears up slightly.  Farr was on the stand for the first part of the morning even offering the jury to take them onto the horse trail in her truck so they could get a realistic view of what it looked like out there. Upon completion of Lyla’s testimony she stepped down from the stand and thanking both the defense and prosecution on the way in a grandmotherly way we thought she was going to pop out some homemade cookies.  Perhaps courts around the world would function better if we all wore smiles like Lyla’s.

Next to take the stand was Carol Kennedy’s mother Ruth who was 83 at the time her daughter was murdered.  The Trial Divas sat in court and geared up for an emotional testimony by the mother who lost her child.  As she slowly approached the stand, Ruth put on her earphones provided to her by the court and began talking about her residency being in Nashville Tennesse.  She continued to discuss her relationship with her daughter and how they talked on the phone every night.  The toughest part of the testimony was when Ruth described her conversation she had with Carol on the night of July 2, 2008.  She chronicled the details as Carol and her were talking about not receiving her alimony check from DeMocker and she was concerned about it.  As they proceeded to interact on the phone, Ruth said she suddenly heard her daughter scream “OH NO” and then the phone went silent.  Ruth tried to call Carol back with no success.  Ruth said “I knew something was wrong and I was 800 miles away, I didn’t know what to do”.  She said she ended up calling the police and alerting them that something was wrong.  Ruth also attempted to call Mr. Knapp in the guest house without success.  She continued to call everybody she could think of, including Steven DeMocker and saying that she knew even though they were divorced he would help her out.  Sitting and listening to Ruth recall her memories had tears flowing through the court without a dry eye….well accept for DeMocker himself.  Of course, they never cry right?  The Trial Divas have to admit, this was one testimony so difficult to listen to as were both mothers and to hear the anguish in Ruth’s voice is heart wrenching.  I just wanted to give her a hug!!!

Well our fabulous Divas and Divos, this is the end to the DeMocker trial breakdown and while these are the main components there has been far more problems that have arisen, especially in the financial area.  We will have to watch it closely as new details will be sure to unravel everyday.  It is currently not live streamed, however they do have The Trial Divas on the ground, 48 hours and Dateline are there trying to get more press for this trial as well.  The family wants justice for Carol and with the politics and economic influence this case has, it has not received the attention it needs and deserves.  So, we will be back in for day two to begin at 9:00 am mst to see what day two brings, so sit tight drink your Pinot and know that the Trial Divas have a handle on the DeMocker case that is housed on the third floor in the archaic courtroom.  We have yet to be in a courthouse that still utilizes wooden chairs, old school sound system and passes out seat cushions for your tush…..not to mention the attorneys being a hot mess.  The defense attorney loses his pen and paperwork every ten seconds often spinning in circles making us dizzy.  He communicates across the entire courtroom to ask his paralegal where something is and then holds up photos for approval by defense and for the ENTIRE court to see as he asks if there are any objections.  Although the best part was when we had all returned from lunch recess and about twenty minutes of resuming the trial one of the defense attorneys asked if he could use the restroom…..low and behold the judge said YES!!!  So he runs to the restroom aka stall tactic and then returns when he is done.  This courtroom is a hot mess with a different mannerism than were are used to seeing….and just when you thought Judge Stephens ran a loose courtroom, she is looking like a sparkly Jimmy Choo that we got on sale for under five hundred dollars right about now.  We will update on the next proceedings as the trial continues…until next time, The Trial Divas xoxo

Charges for DeMocker:  Murder 1st Deg, Burglary 1st Deg, Fraudulent Schemes x 3, Forgery x 2, Tampering w/ Physical Evidence, Contributing to delinquency, Fraudulent Schemes and Practices

Source:  Dennis Wagner, AZ Central and Tom Jackman, Washington Post

You can follow The Trial Divas at Facebook and Twitter @TrialDivasJ or TrialDivasS