Paradise Valley murder suspect speaks out in court

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by Mike Watkiss

Bio | Email | Follow: @mikewatkiss3TV

azfamily.com

Posted on February 10, 2012 at 6:58 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 10 at 7:27 PM

PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz -- Beyond the mug shots, Friday we got our first real look at some of the accused main players in the Valley's arson-murder drama.

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge ordered the release of video showing alleged triggerman, 31-year-old ex-con, Michael Crane and two of his co-defendants, Brittany Beinhauer and Kelly Ann Steward, as the trio appeared in a jail court room just days ago.

VIDEO: Crane, Steward, and Beinhauer initial court appearance

Crane faces multiple charges including two counts of first degree murder for the killings of Paradise Valley residents Lawrence and Glenna Shapiro.

Speaking in a gravelly voice, frequently fidgeting, Crane spelled out his name when asked his identity and then made a rather bizarre statement about "the uniform commercial code." 

The judge then reminded Crane that this was a "criminal" matter. 

The most dramatic moment, however, came when co-defendant Kelly Ann Steward was called before the judge on a charge of theft and transporting stolen property.

As she rose from a steel bench she took a wide detour in order to stay far away from Michael Crane.

According to heavily redacted court documents also released today, Steward has admitted that she received stolen property from Crane.  She also told investigators Crane confessed to her about the murders and fire.

As she addressed the judge, Steward said she was in fear for her life.

The documents also reveal more about the roles of the other suspects.  Investigators believe after Crane ditched the stolen car, he and suspect Shawn Nicloy divided up the stolen electronics and jewelry.

Police say later on,  Steward and Danielle Rossman helped sell and dispose of some of the stolen property. 

Crane is facing two counts of first-degree murder along with kidnapping, arson and armed robbery charges.

He is being held on a $3 million bond.

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