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1:59 AM Mon, Nov. 19th

Prosecution wants its doctor to perform mental health exam on DeMocker

PRESCOTT - Anticipating that the defense in the Steven DeMocker murder trial will have an expert witness testify that time in solitary confinement and other factors have taken a toll on DeMocker's mental health, the prosecution has asked the judge for permission to have him examined by its own doctor.

DeMocker is now less than a month away from jury selection in his retrial on charges that he murdered his ex-wife, Carol Kennedy, in 2008.

As long ago as last April, defense attorney Greg Parzych claimed that DeMocker's mental stability was in question as a result of his being held for a prolonged period of time in solitary confinement.

"His confinement conditions are beginning to affect Mr. DeMocker's mental stability," Parzych wrote in April. In a previous filing, he said, "He has not been outside since September 2010. This is not a humane arrangement. Defense counsel has concerns as to whether Mr. DeMocker is going to be able to assist in his own defense if his current confinement conditions do not change."

Asked if DeMocker is currently in solitary confinement, Sheriff's Office spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said he has "a keep-separate status" and is housed in a single-person room.

In June, the defense was granted a motion to have Dr. John R. Walker evaluate DeMocker.

Walker will testify at the trial, where, according to Yavapai County Deputy County Attorney Steven Young, he will likely "opine that due to the stress of the investigation and the conditions of his confinement, defendant concocted the anonymous email and made plans to flee."

The anonymous email purportedly named the actual killer, but was later discredited as having been written by one of DeMocker's daughters.

Citing precedent, Young argued that, without the exam by its own doctor, the state could not offer a rebuttal to Walker's testimony.

Visiting Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe may rule on the motion Monday in a hearing in which he will listen to oral arguments on several outstanding motions.