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Thu, Feb. 27

DeMocker's lawyers push court for action

PRESCOTT - The attorneys for accused murderer Steven DeMocker have filed paperwork with the court that asks the judge to get moving on the case and throw out a planned settlement conference.

In the one-page request, attorney Craig Williams asks the court to make a decision on which judge will be assigned to the case.

DeMocker is awaiting a retrial on charges that he murdered his ex-wife, Carol Kennedy, in 2008.

It's been more than a month since Yavapai County Superior Court Presiding Judge David Mackey floated the idea of reassigning Judge Warren R. Darrow from the case.

At the time, he said Darrow had enough on his plate dealing with the James Arthur Ray sweat lodge trial. He also said that only three judges - Darrow, Mackey himself, and Judge Michael Bluff - had the necessary room on their calendar to hear the case.

DeMocker's defense team told Mackey they did not want a new judge, but if Mackey decided to reassign Darrow, they would be willing to have Mackey hear the case.

During that hearing Aug. 12, Williams noted that there had been a good deal of new evidence disclosed by the state and said the defense would need time to investigate it.

Williams, in his filing, also asked for the judge to schedule a hearing on DeMocker's motion to have the Yavapai County Attorney's Office disqualified from prosecuting him because, he asserts, the YCAO engaged in "prosecutorial misconduct."

DeMocker has decided against a "settlement conference," wherein a plea agreement would be discussed, Williams said in the filing. A previous motion from the prosecution asked Mackey to expedite that conference, although sources familiar with the case said that neither prosecution nor defense was actually interested in a plea agreement, but were simply acceding to the judge's request that one be explored.

Because of a gag order issued by the court, neither side can comment publicly on the case.

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