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Sun, Dec. 15

Prosecution: No 'substantive' information from DeMocker jail interview

PRESCOTT - The state did not get any "substantive" information from an Oct. 14 police interview of Steven DeMocker and does not plan to use anything that may have been discussed in court, a prosecutor said in a court filing.

DeMocker, convicted Oct. 4 on charges that he murdered his ex-wife, was questioned by the commander of the Camp Verde jail without his attorneys present, Craig Williams, one of his lawyers, contends.

Williams made the claim in a request that the Sheriff's Office turn over a videotape of the interview, which DeMocker said was done in the "video courtroom" of the jail. YCSO Captain David Rhodes, the jail commander, "pulled the defendant from his dorm to meet with him alone" on Oct. 14, Williams said. Rhodes initially wanted to ask DeMocker about interview requests from CBS and NBC News.

"The defendant told Captain Rhodes that he was still represented by attorneys, but Captain Rhodes did not stop questioning the defendant," Williams said.

But Deputy County Attorney Steve Young's brief reply said that Rhodes told them the meeting wasn't recorded, he took no notes, and wrote no report about it.

"There is no intent by the state to use whatever was discussed in the meeting," Young said, and offered to make Rhodes available to the defense for an interview.

Young's filing makes no mention of what topics were brought up in the meeting, and it does not defend Rhodes' decision to talk to DeMocker without his attorneys present.

Williams said Rhodes began discussing victim Carol Kennedy's life insurance payout that was given to attorneys in DeMocker's first trial to cover legal fees, for which he was charged with - and found guilty of - fraud.

Rhodes went on to say that "maybe this was a chance for the defendant to do something for his daughters" because the money spent on attorney fees was intended to be their inheritance, Williams said.

Williams has not filed a complaint against YCSO, and it is unclear if Rhodes faces any repercussions over the incident as YCSO officials have declined to comment on the case until after sentencing.

In a separate filing, Deputy County Attorney Jeff Paupore outlined the state's sentencing recommendations for DeMocker.

He asked for "natural life" on the murder charge, which would mean DeMocker will die in prison, because he would not eligible for commutation, parole, work furlough, work release or release on any other basis. (A "life" sentence is 25 years, after which the inmate might have those options.)

Paupore also wants DeMocker to pay back the money he owes the Virginia Carol Kennedy Trust: $756,000. That money will be deducted from his "inmate spendable account" in prison.

DeMocker is slated to appear before Judge Gary E. Donahoe on Wednesday for sentencing, but his attorneys have filed a request for a continuance, so the sentencing could be rescheduled.

Follow the reporter on Twitter @AZNewsguy.

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