Originally Published: December 19, 2013 6 a.m.
PRESCOTT - An attorney for Steven DeMocker, convicted in October of murdering his ex-wife, has filed a supplement to a motion asking for a new trial after DeMocker claimed that a Yavapai County Sheriff's captain's "questioning" of DeMocker without legal counsel violated his Sixth Amendment rights.
Craig Williams had already moved for a new trial under a rule that allows the judge to throw out a verdict that is "contrary to law and the weight of the evidence."
DeMocker was found guilty of the 2008 murder of Carol Kennedy. The state contends he bludgeoned her with a golf club, shattering her skull, so he could avoid paying $6,000 per month in alimony and could get access to her $750,000 life insurance payout.
The insurance is the key element in Williams' filing. DeMocker claims that YCSO Captain David Rhodes, along with Detention Officer Matthew Barton, took him out of his dorm at the Camp Verde jail on Oct. 14, after he was convicted but before a planned sentencing date. Williams said Rhodes had a closed-door meeting with DeMocker in the jail's video courtroom.
Rhodes is the commander of the jail.
DeMocker said that he reminded Rhodes that he was represented by Williams and attorney Greg Parzych, but Rhodes kept going, talking to him about the life insurance payout.
DeMocker said Rhodes told him "there was still something about the life insurance that did not feel right to him, Deputy County Attorney Jeff Paupore, County Attorney Sheila Polk and Sheriff Scott Mascher," Williams said.
What he felt was not right, Williams said, was that the defense attorneys in his first trial were given all the funds and then let DeMocker take the blame for that.
DeMocker claims that Rhodes told him he "had a chance to recover some or even all of the money for his daughters and to make them at least partially whole," Williams said.
Katie and Charlotte DeMocker were intended to be the recipients of the life insurance money, but they agreed to pay DeMocker's legal bills with it. Court testimony and recordings played for the jury showed that DeMocker had pushed hard for the money to be used for his legal defense.
Williams does not say how DeMocker was to recover the money.
He said that, in an interview with lawyers, Rhodes claimed that he did not tell DeMocker that something didn't seem right, but he did say that he had called Paupore after the meeting.
YCSO said there is no video or audio recording of the meeting.
Williams noted that Rhodes was the county's "case agent" in the first trial and testified against DeMocker in the second.
This filing is meant to bolster DeMocker's motion for a new trial, based on the "guarantee that the jury determine guilt or innocence based solely on the evidence admitted at trial."
Williams argued that there was no evidence to tie DeMocker to the crime, "no DNA; no fingerprints; no blood; no hair; no fiber; no confession; and no murder weapon."
Judge Gary E. Donahoe will hear arguments on the matter Jan. 8.
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