DeMocker trial: Documents reveal new details about anonymous e-mail
PRESCOTT - A report released Monday by the Yavapai County Attorney's Office tells how detectives believe that murder defendant Steven DeMocker allegedly tried to hoodwink investigators, cast suspicion for the death of his ex-wife on a Phoenix drug ring and bamboozle his own defense lawyer.
DeMocker, 56, currently on trial for the July 2, 2008, bludgeoning death of his former wife, Carol Kennedy, 53, was charged Sept. 23 on additional charges of forgery and tampering with evidence in relationship with an anonymous e-mail sent to defense lawyer John Sears and Deputy County Attorney Joseph C. Butner III in July 2009.
The report states that DeMocker instructed his teenage daughter, Charlotte, now 18, to send the e-mail through an Internet café in Phoenix on June 19, 2009, with the knowledge of his then-girlfriend, Renee Girard.
Girard confirmed her involvement with the scam and Charlotte's in a Sept. 19 interview with detectives, the report said.
Yavapai County Public Defender Dean Trebesh, whose office represents DeMocker on the new charges, did not return a call for comment about the report.
DeMocker also told Sears and investigators that a "voice in the vent" at the Yavapai County jail in Camp Verde told him on May 19, 2009, "Your ex-wife was killed by two guys from Phoenix." DeMocker wrote down what the "voice" said, including that Kennedy died because her tenant, James Knapp, had been involved in a prescription drug ring and that Knapp told Kennedy about his illegal activities during their evening drink together. Also, the voice said that Kennedy was killed with an ax handle found in her Williamson Valley house.
Investigators note, as well, that whoever sent the anonymous e-mail knew that Butner was handling DeMocker's case rather than Mark Ainley, a fact not reported in the newspaper at that time.
"I can't tell you who I am, but I can tell you what really happened the night Kennedy was killed," the e-mail said. "Knapp was running his mouth to Kennedy about a prescription drug deal he was in. Two men and one woman were sent to do them both. It was going to be a home invasion gone bad."
The e-mail also describes a struggle and that the murder weapons were an ax handle and an asp (a police baton). It said because Kennedy was on the phone, the killers could not finish arranging the scene but left quickly.
"This wasn't one crazed man with a golf club," the e-mail asserts.
The report describes the investigation into where the e-mail came from and also interviews with other inmates held in the same pod as DeMocker when he claimed that he heard the voice in the vent. Those former prisoners denied that they spoke to DeMocker through the vent. And the Phoenix Police Department's Drug Enforcement Bureau had no record of Knapp, whose January 2009 death was ruled a suicide, of being involved in a prescription drug ring, the report said.
DeMocker also told investigators that no one knew about a tool handle that Kennedy kept in her bedroom for protection.
Detectives also consulted with FBI profilers who called the anonymous e-mail "nonsense."
"FBI agents also noted that in two locations in the anonymous e-mail, the sender represented that the suspects intended to stage the scene and had staged the scene to some degree. Behavior analysts from the FBI pointed out that staging a crime scene was inconsistent with a contracted 'hit team.'
"And, also that staging of a crime scene is consistent with a perpetrator who knew the victim. Also, they concluded that whoever wrote the e-mail was female and "likely a family member of Steven DeMocker."
Further, the report tells of recorded jailhouse phone calls between DeMocker and Girard and DeMocker and his daughters. In one call to Charlotte on June 4, 2009, DeMocker said, "There's a guy in here who's in for identity theft, sounds like he's really good, he's talking all about the technology of it."
In Girard's recent interview, she told detectives that Charlotte "would do anything to help her father," the report said. Girard "believed (DeMocker) was not guilty at the time, so she felt that even if the (e-mail) note was fabricated, it was okay because it would be used to create reasonable doubt as to his guilt," the report said.
Girard said that Charlotte went to Phoenix alone to post the e-mail, got lost, and left her cell phone at home because it could be used to trace her whereabouts.
Previously, the court granted both Girard and Charlotte DeMocker immunity from prosecution for their roles in the case, provided that they testify truthfully.
Meanwhile, the Appellate Court granted a stay, putting the trial on hold until a legal matter under appeal can be heard. That issue was filed under seal, as have many of the documents in the case.