Saturday, August 11, 2001

Attorney: Evidence should be suppressed

Hearing held on police questions

By Ray Schaefer
Enquirer Contributor

        COVINGTON — The scene in Kenton County Circuit Judge Patricia Summe's courtroom Friday at times resembled a basketball huddle during a timeout more than an evidence suppression hearing.

        At issue: whether police illegally questioned accused murderer Adele Craven without her attorney, Covington lawyer Deanna Dennison, present and whether that evidence should be suppressed at an October trial.

[photo] Defense attorney Deanna Dennison consults with her attorney W. Robert Lotz during an evidence suppression hearing Friday.
(Patrick Reddy photos)
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        Ms. Dennison took the stand Friday and was the only witness called. No ruling was made, and attorneys on both sides will file written final arguments at an undetermined date. The trial, expected to take a month, is scheduled to begin Oct. 17.

        Mrs. Craven, 28, of Edgewood and Ronald Pryor, 34, of Independence are charged with the July 2000 murder of Mrs. Craven's husband, Stephen Craven, 38. They could face the death penalty if convicted.

        Friday's suppression hearing lasted nearly 90 minutes. It was stopped more than 10 times for off-the-record conferences to talk about objections or for conversations between Ms. Dennison and W. Robert Lotz of the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

        In Friday's testimony, Ms. Dennison said when she arrived at the Cravens' home after Mrs. Craven called her, she found Kenton County Police Detective Tony Kramer asking Mrs. Craven questions.

        “I told Capt. Kramer I was not going to allow him to ask her any other questions,” Ms. Dennison said.

        Capt. Kramer stopped, but Ms. Dennison said another officer tried to ask Mrs. Craven about an earlier statement.

[photo] Adele Craven (left) and Ronald Pryor are charged in the death of Mrs. Craven's husband.
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        Chris Napier, an assistant prosecutor with the state attorney general's office, asked Ms. Dennison about a number of topics, including why she let police talk to Mrs. Craven outside her presence and why she threatened to call former Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney Don Buring.

        Ms. Dennison said she told Mrs. Craven not to answer questions and said she would never call Mr. Buring.

        Other times, Ms. Dennison and Mr. Lotz went to a room behind the witness stand to discuss how to answer some questions, and Ms. Dennison frequently cited attorney-client privilege when she declined to answer others.

        A third defendant, Russell McIntire, 33, of Erlanger, has pleaded guilty to murder and agreed to testify against Mrs. Craven and Mr. Pryor. For his cooperation, he will avoid the death penalty. Prosecutors are recommending a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years.

        Police say Mrs. Craven wanted her husband dead so she could pursue an affair with Mr. McIntire, and because she wanted a part of her husband's sizeable life insurance policy.

        The couple's two sons are being cared for by a relative. .

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