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10:45 AM Wed, Nov. 21st

County's lawyer fires back at claim that she held up DeMocker hearing

PRESCOTT - The attorney representing a YCSO captain and a detention officer accused in the alleged illegal questioning of convicted murderer Steven DeMocker has filed a document with the court saying that she did her best to keep an interview date, and keep on the judge's schedule.

DeMocker, who was convicted in early October of killing his ex-wife in 2008 and of diverting her life insurance payout to cover his legal bills, claims that YCSO Captain David Rhodes, who runs the Camp Verde jail, pulled him out of his cell for a talk in mid-October. DeMocker said he reminded Rhodes that he is still represented by attorneys, but that Rhodes continued to "question" him about the insurance money without them.

Superior Court Judge Gary E. Donahoe re-set the court's schedule to allow for interviews of Rhodes and Detention Officer Matt Barton before sentencing, but he warned that he would allow no further delays.

So when Rhodes' interview, set for Nov. 19, was scuttled and Rhodes left on vacation the afternoon of Nov. 20, the question of who caused the problem became an issue.

Defense attorney Craig Williams claimed that Georgia Staton hadn't even filed paperwork with the court announcing that she was Rhodes and Barton's lawyer - which was true: she filed it on Nov. 27 - but Staton said she had emailed Williams on Nov. 13 to tell him.

But the email address she used was old, a fact that Williams found odd, noting that the staff at Staton's law firm have known his email "since March 27, 2012."

Once her appearance was made known, the following day, on the phone, Staton said, she told Williams that Nov. 19 would not work for her and suggested the 18th or the 20th. She said all three attorneys - Staton, Williams and DeMocker co-counsel Greg Parzych - were available on the 20th, so "the interview appeared to be scheduled" for that day.

But on Nov. 19, Williams filed a notice for determination of counsel, complaining that she hadn't filed her notice of appearance.

Then, Staton said, "They unilaterally canceled the interview."

Williams has until Dec. 12 to interview Rhodes and Barton and give the judge information from the interview that backs up his motion for a new trial.