Judge mulls document issue in Prescott murder case

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) -- A judge is expected to decide in the coming weeks whether prosecutors in the case of a Prescott stockbroker accused of killing his ex-wife had illegally viewed documents that weren't intended for them.

Attorneys for Steven DeMocker are asking a judge to either disqualify Yavapai County prosecutors from handling the case or to dismiss the charges completely.

The Daily Courier reports that DeMocker's trial on charges that he killed his ex-wife, Carol Kennedy, in 2008 has been on hold while a hearing over the documents takes place.

His first trial ended abruptly in late 2010 when his legal team quit, citing a conflict of interest.

Prosecutors allege DeMocker bludgeoned Kennedy with a golf club to avoid paying alimony bills, while DeMocker has maintained that he is innocent.

Attorneys made arguments over the issue on Thursday before Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe.

Late last month, Donahoe issued a confidential "draft preliminary ruling" which he said he wrote to focus the lawyers' arguments over the issue. The contents of the lengthy ruling have yet to be made public.

DeMocker attorney Craig Williams claimed a lawyer in the County Attorney's Office had read a confidential transcript, then disclosed to prosecutors on the case key information when they needed it. The trial was going badly for the prosecution, Williams said, so they tried to get "a new judge, new defense team, and a new indictment.

"And that transcript gave them all the ammo they needed" to do that, he said.

Williams said the problem is that county prosecutors had no written policy to deal with situations like this one. Williams repeatedly questioned why no one in the county prosecutor's office ever reported that they were being given access to confidential documents by the county's document storage system.

Lawyers for Yavapai County say prosecutors viewed the documents for legitimate reasons.

Russell Yurk, representing the County Attorney's Office, said Williams' goal was to smear county prosecutors in public and that there was no evidence to support his arguments.

"In the end, Mr. Williams had nothing but histrionics for this court," Yurk said.