DEMOCKER TRIAL: Defense calls its own forensic expert to explain murder scene

  • September 19, 2013

By Scott Orr
Staff Writer

PRESCOTT - The defense in the Steven DeMocker murder trial on Wednesday called a forensic expert it had hired to analyze the crime scene and the jury heard a different interpretation of the evidence it has been seeing for several weeks.

DeMocker is accused of killing his ex-wife, Carol Kennedy, in July 2008, by bludgeoning her to death with a golf club in her Williamson Valley home.

Defense attorney Craig Williams called Keith Inman, currently a professor at California State University - East Bay, who has a background in criminalistics and forensics. 

Inman said he was to answer two questions: "What happened and who was involved?" but that there was "really no evidence that points to the 'who'" in this case.

He disputed several key points made by the criminalist the prosecution called, Jonathan Priest. Among them: that the killer stood over Kennedy and drove a left-handed golf club into her head.

"There's no evidence showing where the individual was (standing)," Inman said, and "there's nothing in the evidence to indicate the 'handedness'" of the killer.

Nor did Inman agree with Priest's contention that the murderer could have come away with no blood on him. 

"It's much more likely, given this scene, and this set of circumstances, that the assailant would have blood on him or her," he said, adding that he believed Kennedy's body was moved twice. "I think it's reasonable to think the person has blood on him or her somewhere."

During his cross-examination, Deputy County Attorney Steve Young pushed him on the small size of the room. "You can't have a lot of people in there, correct?" he asked.

"You can't have 10 but you could have three or four," Inman replied.

After several minutes, Young relented, saying, "I'm not going to get you to say there was one person inflicting those blows, am I?"

"You are not," Inman said, with a smile.

Young asked if the objects in the room that had been moved - a ladder and two bookcases that had been knocked over - constituted "staging" of the crime scene.

"No, it's manipulation... but I don't know what (the point of) the misdirection is," Inman answered.

Williams also called Anna Young, a Yavapai County Superior Court judge, who was DeMocker's divorce attorney in 2007. She is not related to Steve Young.

She characterized the split as "not a high-contact divorce" and said the couple was "always very polite and civil to each other." 

After he released the jury for the day, Judge Gary Donahoe dealt with a prosecution objection that concerned a witness who would testify this morning about Mayo Clinic medical records for James Knapp. The defense claims Knapp is a viable suspect who was not thoroughly investigated.

The state claimed the issue is irrelevant, but after paging through a stack of papers several inches thick, Donahoe said it "doesn't look like he had cancer at all."

Williams said the material "really goes to the whole issue of Mr. Knapp's credibility ... he's plainly lying about it."

Donahoe agreed and overruled the objection.

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