Judge orders DeMocker lawyers to turn over financial records
PRESCOTT - The judge in Steven DeMocker's murder trial on Wednesday ordered a Prescott attorney and a Phoenix law firm, both of which represented DeMocker previously, to disclose where the insurance payout from his alleged victim's life insurance went once it was sent to them.
DeMocker's re-trial on charges that he murdered his ex-wife, Carol Kennedy, in 2008, is slated to begin with four days of jury selection starting July 16. DeMocker, who has been in custody since his arrest, has maintained his innocence.
The prosecution asked Judge Gary Donahoe to compel attorney John Sears and the law firm of Osborn Maledon to disclose whether they were paid with funds from Kennedy's Hartford life insurance policies.
The motion claimed that, on March 13, 2009, DeMocker signed for disbursements from three policies, and then told his daughter Katie that the money was to be used for his defense.
In April 2009, Hartford disbursed $770,000 to Katie, the motion said, and then in August, through DeMocker's mother, Janice, Katie sent $100,000 to Sears and $250,000 to Osborn Maledon.
The motion further alleges that, again, going through DeMocker's mother, DeMocker's former fiancée Reneé Girard sent $100,000 to Sears and $250,000 to Osborn Maledon.
Sears, Osborn Maledon, and DeMocker's lawyers all objected to the motion, with attorney Craig Williams saying, "Any communications between the defendant and the prior defense team remain confidential and privileged," and that DeMocker "does not waive any of his rights concerning attorney-client privilege."
Williams requested a hearing to discuss the motion, a move Deputy County Attorney Jeff Paupore said was "an attempt to complicate and delay the proceedings."
Donahoe denied the request for a hearing and, in granting the state's request for the financial details, said, "The court is of the opinion that the lawyers can comply with this court's order without providing any confidential information. A simple statement will suffice."
He said that, if the money was used to pay DeMocker's attorney fees, "the statement could be as simple as that."
Donahoe ordered the information be provided by June 21.