Detective: DeMocker's behavior suspicious
Steven DeMocker's defense lawyer continued to hammer Yavapai County Sheriff's Sgt. Luis Huante Thursday, questioning why his client became the main subject of the murder investigation into the death of DeMocker's ex-wife, Carol Kennedy, less than a day after her July 2, 2008, death.
Huante, who took charge of the investigation after an officer found Kennedy's lifeless body in a small room used as an office at her Williamson Valley home, testified that DeMocker behaved suspiciously that night and that his story had inconsistencies. Prosecutors believe DeMocker beat Kennedy to death with a golf club and then tried to stage her body so her death appeared to be an accident.
DeMocker, 56, a Prescott stockbroker, told Huante and Deputy Douglas Brown that he was riding his mountain bike on Granite Mountain trails during the evening hours when someone killed Kennedy. DeMocker tried to explain to the officers where he'd ridden but they were unable to find the small entrance to Forest Trail 309 off Love Lane early the morning of July 3 and did not locate it for a few weeks. DeMocker, who freely spoke to investigators that night, also drew a map for them. Huante called the map "a squiggly line."
"Was it Mr. DeMocker's fault you couldn't find the trail?" asked defense lawyer John Sears.
"If he would have given me clearer directions, I would have found it," Huante said.
"You could have asked him for a better description," Sears said.
"I guess I could have," Huante said.
By the time investigators found the trail where DeMocker said he'd ridden, any hope of finding his bike tire tracks was gone, Sears pointed out. But Huante believed that DeMocker biked to Glenshandra Drive and rode toward Kennedy's Bridle Path home, hid the bike in some shrubbery, then walked up to her house and accessed it from ranch land abutting the rear.
DeMocker's bike might have made tire tracks found at Glenshandra, and an FBI shoeprint analyst will testify that footprints outside Kennedy's house resemble those from La Sportive hiking shoes that DeMocker bought in 2006, Deputy County Attorney Joseph C. Butner III said.
However, Sears showed Huante, who also rides mountain bikes, a photo of DeMocker's bike with "egg beater" pedals for bicycle shoes to attach by cleats. Officers seized two pairs of those shoes from DeMocker's Alpine Meadows garage. Huante agreed that it might be harder to ride in the La Sportiva shoes but said it could be done.
When Butner questioned Huante on re-direct examination, Huante said that he himself would never ride with the rear tire that DeMocker said went flat during his ride, causing a planned two-hour ride into a four-hour excursion. That tire was "dry-rotted," Huante said.
Butner showed Huante and the jury pictures of all the scratches on DeMocker that night, including one on his lower left leg that "oozed blood." Huante said that he considered those scratches suspicious.
However, none of DeMocker's blood or DNA was found at the crime scene, nor was Kennedy's blood or DNA found on DeMocker, his car or bicycle, later investigation showed. A drop of blood on DeMocker's bike was his own, Huante said.
Huante suggested that DeMocker might have worn a cover-up during the murder and disposed of it somewhere. Investigators also searched the area, and Huante personally checked area public outhouses, he said.
Also, he said, DeMocker exchanged text messages with Kennedy earlier about meeting to exchange checks. DeMocker owed Kennedy $6,000 in alimony for the month and believed that she owed him $8,500 from a retirement fund they split as a result of their divorce settlement that May. However, Kennedy disputed that amount.
DeMocker also wanted to pick up the BMW he rented for his daughter, Katie, because Katie was traveling abroad that summer. DeMocker, who Huante said never gave a reason why he rode his bike instead of going to Kennedy's house that fatal night, believed Kennedy would not pay him the $8,500, Huante said.
Prosecutors allege that DeMocker murdered Kennedy for financial reasons. DeMocker, who remains in custody in lieu of $1 million, could face life in prison if convicted. The trial, before Superior Court Judge Warren R. Darrow, is expected to resume today.