By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer
LEXINGTON - Adele Craven's sister took the stand Monday and said she thought talk about hiring a hit man to kill Stephen Craven was a joke.
"We were talking about a hit man when I visited Adele in Kentucky," said the sister, Patricia Medel of Santa Fe Springs, Calif. "I am divorced, so if I thought she was serious, I would have not said, `We should bring the hit man out to California'"
Ms. Medel provided the most emotional testimony the jury has seen as the murder trial of Ms. Craven enters its fifth week. The 39-year-old Edgewood woman is charged in the brutal killing of her husband, A Delta Air Lines pilot.
Ms. Medel described what she observed while visiting Ms. Craven in June 2000, just a month before Mr. Craven's death.
"I was surprised they hadn't already received counseling since God, church and family seemed so important to them," Ms. Medel said.
Ms. Medel said the atmosphere in the Craven home was so "tense" in that she cut her visit short and even offered to take the Craven children back to California for the rest of the summer so her sister could focus on reconciling the marriage.
Ms. Craven told her sister: "Everything will be fine. Everything will work out."
Ms. Medel was the latest witness to testify that Mr. Craven was controlling.
"She (Ms. Craven) felt like he was demanding and wanted things done a certain way," said Ms. Medel. "She never asserted her own will or did things how she wanted."
The sisters are two of six siblings who grew up in California. Ms. Medel said Ms. Craven moved to Kentucky after her marriage.
Ms. Medel testified that Ms. Craven had low self-esteem, a problem exacerbated by Mr. Craven's complaints that she was overweight. Ms. Craven's arrest slip from 2000 lists her height as 4-foot-10 and her weight as 125 pounds.
Ms. Medel described her sister as someone who wasn't concerned about material goods, countering claims by the prosecution that Ms. Craven's motive for killing her husband was a $500,000 life insurance policy.
She said Ms. Craven would constantly walk in an attempt to get in shape and even purchased health food items that tasted bad.
In earlier testimony, the jury heard that Ms. Craven would tell her husband she was going on early morning walks as an excuse to meet her lover.
Under cross-examination Ms. Medel said her sister had not told her about the extramarital affair until after Mr. Craven's death.
"She was embarrassed about the affair," Ms. Medel said.
To counter Ms. Medel's testimony that Ms. Craven never asserted her own will, Ms. Brown reminded the jury that Ms. Craven got a job and a mobile phone without Mr. Craven's approval.
The job, as it turned out, was working for her lover Russell "Rusty" McIntire, 34, of Erlanger.
Mr. McIntire has testified against Ms. Craven in exchange for life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years. Mr. McIntire said he hired a hit man.
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