Former Prescott stockbroker slams judge, jury following convictionPosted: Updated:
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) -- A former Prescott stockbroker slammed the judicial system following his conviction on murder and other charges in his ex-wife's death, saying neither the judge nor the jury was competent, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.
Steven DeMocker is quoted in a synopsis of recorded jail conversations with his family as saying he could not understand why the jury found him guilty of killing Carol Kennedy at her home in July 2008 without any evidence directly tying him to the crime. He blamed the convictions on what he said was a rigged judicial system and his attorney.
"I didn't take mom from you," DeMocker told his daughter, Charlotte, according to the documents. "I didn't do that."
DeMocker's attorney, Craig Williams, disputed the accuracy of the report produced by the Yavapai County Attorney's Office. Williams urged a judge not to allow it as evidence in a recent court hearing where he said that DeMocker was improperly questioned by the jail commander. The issue became moot when DeMocker asserted his right to remain silent, and his testimony was stricken from the court record.
"He's just been convicted -- he's innocent -- and it's a shock to the system," Williams said Thursday. "And Mr. DeMocker does not agree what was said about him in this report."
Dennis McGrane, chief deputy in the prosecutors' office, said the office stands by the report, which is a mix of direct quotes from DeMocker and his family, paraphrasing and opinion by an investigator from the office. McGrane said it was not intended to be a transcript and is written from a prosecutor's point of view.
DeMocker is set to be sentenced Jan. 24 on the murder charge and six other counts - a date he referred to in the report as "the day of humiliation." He could be sentenced to a maximum of life in prison.
According to the report, which was obtained through an Arizona public-records request, DeMocker said he believes Judge Gary Donahoe will show him no mercy. He plans to challenge his convictions once he's sentenced, DeMocker said.
Hearing the jury announce in October that he was guilty of the charges was the worst moment of his life, DeMocker said. He told family members by telephone that he wants the courtroom packed with supporters at his sentencing so that the public can see him in the most favorable light.
He cautioned family members not to attack the jury, the judge or the trial proceedings.
"But there's nothing wrong with at least implying criticism of the investigation and saying that an error has been made," he told his sister, Sharon, in one call. "Maybe not that explicitly. But when you say, `This guy is innocent, and I know it,' (that) is enough of an implication of an error."
Prosecutors relied heavily on circumstantial evidence to land a conviction. They had no eyewitnesses, confession, blood, hair, fingerprints or other DNA linking DeMocker to Kennedy's death. But they argued to the jury that he had a clear motive because he was strapped for cash, wanted to avoid alimony and going after Kennedy's life insurance. He also knew Kennedy's daily routine and had researched how to become a fugitive, prosecutors said.
DeMocker said the state's theory did not make sense because a person with no prior violent history whose separation and divorce from Kennedy was amicable would not suddenly get violent over a small argument, according to the report. Testimony at trial presented a picture of bitter conflicts over finances.
DeMocker's defense team argued that a man who lived with Kennedy at the time, James Knapp, could have killed her but wasn't properly investigated. In the jail calls, DeMocker said he did not believe Knapp killed his ex-wife and questioned why it was brought up as a defense.
The topics of conversation in other calls ranged from DeMocker writing a book about his life in jail, his emotional struggles and rejecting at least one plea offer because he could not admit guilt to something he maintains he didn't do.
McGrane said the state made no formal plea offers to DeMocker but had discussions with his attorneys at one point on the possibility of DeMocker pleading guilty to second-degree murder.
DeMocker also said he wants to create a groundswell of dismay over what he contends is mistreatment by jail administration. He expresses concern that jail officials will force him to do media interviews while wearing his orange, jail-issued clothing. Sheriff Scott Mascher has said he will not allow media interviews because he could not accommodate the crews and maintain a secure environment.
DeMocker remains in general population at the jail. The sheriff's office said it would not discuss jail conditions referenced in DeMocker's phone conversations.
DeMocker declined to visit with an Associated Press reporter at the jail this week, saying he wanted to save his limited visitation time for his family.