Wednesday, August 02, 2000

Details emerge in Craven killing

Wife gave orders, detective testifies

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        More accusations against the wife of a slain Delta pilot came out in court Tuesday, this time in the words of her lover.

(Patrick Reddy photo)
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        Police had already disclosed that Adele Craven stood nearby while her husband, Steven, was clubbed four times in the head with a crowbar. But the chief detective on the case testified Tuesday that she also was the one who moved the scheduled killing up from evening to morning, lured her husband to the basement, then coldly presided over his murder.

        When Mrs. Craven decided the whacks didn't kill her husband, she then produced a gun, he said, and told the “hit man” her boyfriend had recruited to shoot her husband. When the first bullet didn't kill Mr. Craven immediately, police said she put two more bullets in the revolver, said, “He's still alive,” and ordered him shot again.

        At the time of the killing July 12, the Cravens were in counseling to work on their troubled marriage, the detective said. But he also revealed Tuesday that Mrs. Craven paid for the Disney cruise her lover, Rusty McIntire, took with his family days after the killing.

        Many of Detective Wallace's conclusions came from statements made by Mr. McIntire, 32, a Delta baggage handler from Erlanger. The two met when Mr. McIntire began doing remodeling work in the Cravens' house. They had been sexually involved for several weeks, she told detectives, when they were caught June 1 having sex in the back of his pickup truck in the parking lot of St. Pius X Church in Erlanger.

        “Mr. McIntire said he and Adele were soul mates and wanted to be together upon (Mr. Craven's) death,” Detective Wallace said.

        The two planned to wait an appropriate amount of grief time, he said, and then Mr. McIntire could benefit from being with Mrs. Craven and the $500,000 in insurance money she thought would be coming to her.

        At the same time, though, Mr. Craven and Mr. McIntire had become friends. The two went boating together, in fact, four days before the killing.

        Mr. Craven, 38, died on the basement floor of his Carimel Ridge house in Edgewood after the two additional bullets were fired — at very close range — by Ronald Pryor, a former co-worker of Mr. McIntire's, the detective said.

        All three accused in the killing stand charged with murder. Commonwealth Attorney Don Buring said he has not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty against any of them. But he said he thinks the law may allow him to seek it against all of them, even though only one pulled the trigger. Killing for money constitutes an aggravating circumstance, something legally necessary for the death penalty to be sought.

        Mr. McIntire admitted to police that he bought the crowbar specifically to kill Mr. Craven with it, Detective Wallace testified. The gun was on hand just in case the crowbar wasn't effective, he said.

        Mrs. Craven sat with her head down through the entire hourlong hearing. She shuffled into court wearing a jail uniform and restraints around her hands and feet. Her attorney, Deanna Dennison, brought up several issues that might be clues to Mrs. Craven's defense, including that she might have changed her mind about the killing and was trying to work things out with her husband.

        Ms. Dennison also questioned Detective Wallace about whether Mr. Pryor might have been too afraid of Mr. McIntire to refuse to participate.


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