Tuesday, January 30, 2001

Prosecutor taken off Craven murder trial

Judge says office has conflict

By Ray Schaefer
Enquirer Contributor

        COVINGTON — Kenton Commonwealth Attorney Bill Crockett predicted several months of delay over a ruling that his office has conflicts and cannot prosecute three people on murder charges.

        Kenton Circuit Judge Patricia Summe's prohibited Mr. Crockett's office from handling the case because a lawyer on the prosecution team had worked in the public defender's office before and may have had at least passing contact with Adele Craven.

        She, Ronald Pryor and Rusty McIntire are charged with murder in the death of Ms. Craven's husband.

        The next step, if Mr. Crockett does not appeal, is for a special counsel to take the case.

        “It may be three or four months of delay,” Mr. Crockett said. “That's what I'm trying to avoid.”

        Stephen Craven's body was found in the basement of his Edgewood home July 12. The 38-year-old Delta Air Lines pilot had been clubbed four times in the head with a crowbar and shot three times.

        Detectives have said Mrs. Craven helped plan the killing and presided over it, ordering Mr. Pryor to shoot her husband after it appeared he survived the other assaults.

        Police say Mr. McIntire, who is married, told investigators he and Mrs. Craven wanted to be together, so they planned to pay Mr. Pryor, a former co-worker of Mr. McIntire, $15,000 to commit the crime.

        Mr. Pryor, 33, of Independence, pleaded not guilty to murder. Mrs. Craven, 37, and Mr. McIntire, 32, of Erlanger, were arraigned Sept. 18 on charges of complicity to commit murder.

        Mr. Crockett said he was unsure whether he would appeal Friday's ruling. He said such conflicts are routine, and he is a special prosecutor in an assault case in Campbell County because of a conflict there.

        At issue in this case is whether assistant prosecutor Michael Folk, part of the county's public defender's office when the three were indicted, can participate in the prosecution now. Mr. Crockett said Mr. Folk happened to be in Kenton District Court Judge Ann Ruttle's courtroom on unrelated matters the day Mr. Pryor and Mr. McIntire were arraigned.

        “He had no contact with them,” Mr. Crockett said.


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