Tuesday, April 03, 2001

State opposes separate trials in pilot's killing

Murder case would drag on, prosecutors say

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — Special prosecutors from the Kentucky Attorney General's Office said Monday that separating the trials of the three defendants charged in the death of Stephen Craven could triple the time to try them.

        Assistant Attorney General Chris Napier told Kenton Circuit Judge Patricia Summe during a motion hearing that a single trial for all three defendants is expected to last three weeks.

        “If we have to separate the defendants, we are looking at possibly nine weeks for three trials,” she said. Proceedings are scheduled to begin in October.

        Adele Craven, Rusty McIntire and Ronald Pryor are charged with murder in the beating and shooting death of Mrs. Craven's husband, Stephen, in July.

        Mrs. Craven's attorney, Deanna Dennison, said in her motion to separate the defendants that having her client tried at the same time, in the same courtroom, as the other two would be extremely prejudicial to Mrs. Craven and would jeopardize her right to a fair trial.

        “Mrs. Craven did not implicate herself in the murder,” Ms. Dennison said. “The other defendants implicated themselves in the statements they made” to police.

        The prosecution indicated it would redact certain portions of testimony from one defendant regarding another, but Ms. Dennison said she did not think there was a way to redact and still protect her client.

        Ms. Napier said the evidence “would be effectively the same for all three defendants, with some exceptions. We can redact in the testimony where it is needed.”

        Mr. 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.

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

        Mr. McIntire also is seeking a separate trial.

        Judge Summe said she might be able to rule on separate trials by the end of the week. She said she would look at videotapes of the three defendants when they made their statements to police, and go over the transcripts.

        The judge said she was concerned about the slow movement in proceedings so far, and the possibility that Mr. Pryor's public defenders might seek a change of venue.

        “October is getting closer,” Judge Summe said, referring to the trial date. She said she didn't want to get bogged down with other matters that might delay the start of the trial.

        Jon Alig, court-appointed attorney for Mr. Pryor, has a motion before the court to withdraw from the case. Judge Summe conducted a closed-door hearing Monday on the matter.

        The prosecution also supplied autopsy photos to the defense attorneys and the court, and photos of a carpet inside the Craven home that was cut up, allegedly to wrap the body.


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