Sunday, September 7, 2003

Pilot's killer will testify against wife

The Associated Press

COVINGTON - To save his own life, a man convicted of murdering a Delta Air Lines pilot will testify against the woman who allegedly hired him to do so - the pilot's wife.

Ronald Scott Pryor faced a death sentence until a hearing Friday, when he agreed to prosecutors' requests to testify against Adele Craven, the slain pilot's widow, during her second trial. If Kenton County Circuit Judge Patricia Summe approves the agreement, Pryor will receive a life prison term instead and will give up any appeals of his conviction.

A jury deadlocked in Craven's first trial in December. She is scheduled to stand trial again Jan. 12, 2004.

Prosecutors accuse her of collaborating with her lover, Russell "Rusty" McIntire, to murder 38-year-old Stephen Craven so they could continue their affair and she could collect a $500,000 insurance policy. Pryor was to be paid $15,000 for carrying it out.

Craven has denied having anything to do with the death of her husband, whose shattered body was found in the basement of the couple's Edgewood home in July 2000. He had been bludgeoned with a crowbar more than a dozen times and shot three times.

McIntire pleaded guilty to murder and testified against Pryor in exchange for a sentence of life without parole for 25 years. He said Craven hatched the plan and was there when Pryor beat and shot her husband to death.

Pryor, who made a videotaped confession implicating Craven after his arrest, was convicted in May 2002. However, Pryor refused to testify against Craven at her first trial, and the judge ruled the confession inadmissible.

On Friday, Pryor made the unusual move of pleading guilty to the crime of which he'd already been convicted. That way, prosecutor Luke Morgan said, a new sentence could be recommended to the judge.

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