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9/23/2010 10:48:00 PM
DeMocker Trial: Prosecutor requests immunity for daughter
Courier file photo
Steven DeMocker
Courier file photo
Steven DeMocker

Linda Stein
The Daily Courier

In the wake of a revelation that murder defendant Steven DeMocker may have authored an anonymous e-mail, a deputy county attorney filed a petition asking the court to grant immunity to his daughter.

The trial for DeMocker came to a standstill this week after DeMocker's former girlfriend, Renee Girard, gave an interview to detectives saying that DeMocker dictated the contents of the e-mail to his daughter Charlotte, then 17. Girard told detectives that he showed her a handwritten version of the e-mail during a jail visit.

She also related that Charlotte allegedly sent the e-mail in 2009 to defense lawyer John Sears from an untraceable account at an Internet café in Phoenix, according to court papers. The same e-mail sent to Deputy County Attorney Joseph C. Butner III, who is handling the case, had an invalid address.

Prosecutors charged DeMocker, 56, with first-degree murder in the beating death of his former wife, Carol Kennedy, 53.

The e-mail told a story about a gang of thugs from a prescription drug ring who had come to Williamson Valley to carry out a hit on Kennedy's tenant but killed Kennedy instead. That tenant, James Knapp, who suffered from cancer, died of a gunshot wound to the chest in January 2009. The medical examiner ruled Knapp's death a suicide.

Charlotte DeMocker, 18, and a college freshman, testified in June about the heart-wrenching night when her mother died. Charlotte, who lived with her father in his Hassayampa Country Club condominium, said she had been hanging out with her boyfriend that afternoon and evening. She said that DeMocker told her when he got home from work that he would be riding his mountain bike but she had not paid much attention. Charlotte told Yavapai County Sheriff's officers that her dad had ridden on a trail near the condominiums. DeMocker, who gave a videotaped statement, said that he was riding on a trail near Granite Mountain off Love Lane and had a flat tire on his bike.

Also, Charlotte couldn't reach DeMocker by cell phone and finally at 9:30 p.m. she went to a grocery store to get some food for dinner. When she got back from the store DeMocker was in the shower.

Charlotte became concerned about her mother after learning from her father that Kennedy's mother and brother had been trying to reach her that evening. Charlotte and her boyfriend then drove out to Kennedy's house on Bridle Path with DeMocker on the phone, she said. When an officer told her that her mother died, she burst into tears and dropped the phone. Her father hadn't wanted to come with her, she said, because he thought her mother might be on a date.

Now Butner wants to recall Charlotte to the witness stand and asked Superior Court Judge Warren R. Darrow to grant her "use immunity" to testify again.

That immunity would prevent Charlotte from being prosecuted because of "any information directly or indirectly derived from such testimony or evidence," that she "gave answer or produced evidence under court order." However, Charlotte might still be subject to charges of perjury if she failed to answer questions truthfully, the petition said.

In his filing, Butner added that her testimony "is indispensable in the interests of justice and Charlotte DeMocker has refused to testify or is likely to refuse to testify or provide other information on the basis of her privilege against self-incrimination."

Defense lawyers declined to comment about Butner's request to grant immunity to Charlotte. Charlotte's lawyer, Christopher Dupont, could not be reached for comment late Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile, a judge previously granted immunity to Girard for her upcoming testimony. This spring Girard led detectives to a waterproof bag containing clothing and a cell phone hidden on the golf course near DeMocker's condominium.

Whether the e-mail can be admitted as evidence has been the subject of much argument among the lawyers. DeMocker's lawyer, Sears, had argued that the e-mail should be admitted to show that someone else might have killed Kennedy while Butner opposed it. Now Butner is the one asking to be able to show the e-mail to the jury.

Butner alleges that DeMocker killed Kennedy by striking her with a golf club for financial reasons to avoid paying $6,000 per month alimony. The couple also disputed a portion of a retirement account.

The trial is expected to continue on Tuesday.

Related Stories:
• DeMocker pleads not guilty to new charges
• DeMocker trial: Closed doors continue; defendant will appear on new charges
• DeMocker trial remains on hold; may resume on Tuesday
• DeMocker trial delayed; lawyers argue over e-mail's admissibility

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Article comment by: To the More Vindictive commenter

This blog is not sonja's or your private soap box. If you're going to exercise your free speech rights to say whatever you think about the defendant or his family or this case, then others may exercise their free speech rights and say what they think about your comments. If you don't want to hear what people think of your opinions, then don't post them in a public forum.

Posted: Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Article comment by: Defense supporter appears more vindictive than anything Sonia said

Why do the defense supporters go on these rants against bloggers (just makes them less credible)?

Posted: Monday, September 27, 2010
Article comment by: sonja needs to read her earlier comments while looking in a mirror

No, sonja. You said "I feel bad for Charlotte for learning such behaviors from her father." You probably meant it as one of your customary cheap shots at Steve but you essentially said Charlotte is guilty of the same kinds of behaviors you (falsely) attribute to Steve. By matching Steve's and Charlotte's behavior then impugning Steve, you implicitly impugn Charlotte, which is why people rallied to her defense. Throughout this tragedy, you have sought at every turn to smear Steve while pretending you care about Katie and Charlotte's welfare. Both girls are reported as believing their father is innocent. They are on record as pleading with the authorities to find the men who left their biological material at the scene so the case can be properly solved. Yet you and others lecture them to "make a new beginning" and turn the page, away from their own father in whom they continue to believe. Your campaign is meddlesome and misguided and your treatment of these young women is cruel. I'm reminded of several of your earlier comments, which you would do well to think about while you look in a mirror:

Aug 18 comment on Aug 13 article: sonja atwater: "So many people making so many judgments and assumptions. It's sickening...."

April 8 comment on April 7 article: sonja atwater: "No matter what anyone says, the child witness should NEVER have been addressed in this article. Period. Let's not put anymore information out there. Leave the children alone."

2nd April 8 comment on April 7 article: sonja atwater: "The child witness should never have been brought up at all. This child is already scared. Children should be protected better than this. regardless of who killed who, this child should never have been mentioned in this article. Bad Taste!..."

Maybe the most telling "sonja atwater" comment of all: May 6 comment on May 4 article: "I never thought it appropriate that newspapers allow comments like we are all allowed to make...."

And the comment you made May 15 on the May 4 article is one I imagine many of us would love to see you honor. sonja atwater: "My apologies to those who don't like my comments... I can refrain from speaking here... my intention is not to get everyones panties in a bunch... just to express myself. I will follow the case quietly and refrain from making any further comments..."

Posted: Monday, September 27, 2010
Article comment by: For Carol

I personally think we owe it to Carol's daughters, as a community, to be supportive. Which ever side of the fence we're on (or sitting on it), before we comment, we need to ask ourselves: is this comment in alignment with Carol's spirit of light & love? These are her daughters. She is not here to support them through this difficult time. They deserve our caring, kindness and compassion. Also some semblance of privacy. If our comment doesn't meet those qualifications, we could simply choose to let it go. :)

Posted: Monday, September 27, 2010
Article comment by: sonja atwater

@To: No Need to Comment and Sonja Atwater
... I don't see where anyone said anything bad about the girls. It sounds like you are just lashing out. I personally think it's very sad what the girls have had to go through and wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. Your anger is misdirected.

Posted: Monday, September 27, 2010
Article comment by: Really and Thank You

I agree this is the place to talk about the murder trial of Steven DeMocker. If you want to start a fan club it could easily be done on facebook.

Posted: Monday, September 27, 2010
Article comment by: Logical Theory

May I make a suggestion. This is a public blogspot for the coverage of Steven DeMocker's trial. The rules for our blogs are defined in the Daily Courier Terms. I suggest you create a private blogspot for family and close friends to chat and console one another. Your constant bullying and verbal abuse toward bloggers is unwarranted and inappropriate here.

Posted: Monday, September 27, 2010
Article comment by: Kris Marks

Clearly neither of Carol's daughters are having an easy time with this. Katie had to deal with the aftermath of that situation and did so with more grace than most people could have.

May I suggest the following ground rule for this thread: if you don't/didn't know the family, keep your disrespectful, insensitive comments to yourselves and go troll somewhere where you aren't impacting already-grieving families.

Posted: Sunday, September 26, 2010
Article comment by: To: No Need to Comment and Sonja Atwater

You are not even worth responding to, since you clearly have the mental capacity of a child and the empathy of Hitler, but nonetheless I will try to explain this the best way I can: Don't you ever say a bad word about the DeMocker sisters. You have no idea what they have been through, and what they continue to deal with EVERY SINGLE DAY. Furthermore, they have dealt with what life has handed them in the most graceful manner you can ever expect from people in their position. How dare you question their actions?! How dare you point a finger?! This is not USweekly, nor is it grade school. Mind your manners and know that these girls have an army of people supporting them, no matter how many idiots try to knock them down. I wish I knew you, only so I could have the simple pleasure of laughing at your ignorance to your face.

Posted: Saturday, September 25, 2010
Article comment by: Charlotte deserves a pass

Unlike Katie, Charlotte stayed in Prescott during the past two years to finish public high school. She was staying with Renee and she had been close to her dad. Charlotte could not escape what going on in her family in her daily life. The ordeal would be hard on anyone but especially for a maturing teenager. She may not have always made good decisions but I think she deserves a pass as long as she comes clean now. Let her get the trial behind her and make a new beginning.

Posted: Saturday, September 25, 2010
Article comment by: Katie keeps to herself as much as possible

Katie was attending Occidental College the last few years. She was also out of the country at the time of the murder. I think I read she is in town for the trial. She was professional when she testified even though it must have been difficult. She has managed to avoid most of the limelight surrounding the trial. I think her mother would be very proud of how she has matured and handled herself.

Posted: Saturday, September 25, 2010
Article comment by: sonja atwater

@Kris Marks... I wasn't trying to say anything. I was curious as to why one daughter was being drug through this nightmare more than the other. I guess if one is out of state that makes sense... If the younger daughter was living with Democker I guess that is why she is more involved. I feel bad for Charlotte for learning such behaviors from her father though. He never should have involved his children.

Posted: Saturday, September 25, 2010
Article comment by: Kris Marks

@sonja atwater: Katie is not mentioned more because she is out of state, in college. What are you trying to say?

Posted: Saturday, September 25, 2010
Article comment by: so the vulutres are circling

Stunning that there are people out here who think she should suffer further. She needs to tell the truth and be done with it but by no means should she be prosecuted. I am stunned at the lack of compassion for this young girl. She has lost so much. Why can't you guys give her a break. And to imply that she had anything to do with the murder is ridiculous (remember her alibi holds up).

Posted: Saturday, September 25, 2010
Article comment by: sonja atwater

Please...still affected by her parent/s and at the same time she does need to learn the power of the law, now before it is too late. Let justice be done in the case. We don't know the entire story for Charlotte yet. Perhaps she helped plan this... or NOT. We don't know... Let's be serious though... Democker is potentially guilty of this murder. Kids are not just kids anymore either. I do feel so sorry for Charotte and her sister. But why is her sister not mentioned more often? Now we might want to chat about that.

Posted: Saturday, September 25, 2010
Article comment by: To Truth In Life

If the roomer was murdered, that adds credibility to the drug gang theory, which has never actually been disproved. The defendant couldn't have murdered the roomer since he was in jail at the time. They found blood and DNA from strange men at the Kennedy crime scene. I wonder what they would have found at the roomer's crime scene if they hadn't immediately passed it off as a suicide and stopped investigating.

Posted: Saturday, September 25, 2010
Article comment by: Response to the comment by *No RJ*

Your comment shows a lack of perspective on the direness of the fearful events being faced by the teenager versus the middle-aged man. If you agree a teenager (a near-adult) can be understandably scared into stupidly cheating on something like a test at school, how unreasonable is it for an adult facing the death penalty to do whatever he could think of to pressure the authorities into investigating something he heard in jail which would exonerate him, free him, and save him from a firing squad? It's easy to act smug sitting in one's den and blogging opinions about fears one has never faced and therefore can't really understand.

Posted: Friday, September 24, 2010
Article comment by: No Name

This would be a terrific time for the defense team to loquaciously pontificate on the evil and the peril of purjury.

Posted: Friday, September 24, 2010
Article comment by: Truth in Life

Thank God his X-Girlfriend has a conscience!
It is sad they blame this on a roomer, whom I think it appears was murdered. NOT the alleged suicide it is written off as.

Posted: Friday, September 24, 2010
Article comment by: No RJ

Scared and stupid is a teenager cheating on a test. Scared and stupid is not a 54 year old man with a PhD who knowingly commits a felony involving his fiance and underage daughter in aiding and abetting. Not to mention the wild goose chase he sends law enforcement on and then chastizes them over and over when they are unable to find any evidence. No excuses, Democker, you are smart and old enough to know better. You have offset a lot of good work done by your defense team who were no doubt ambushed by your stunt.

Posted: Friday, September 24, 2010
Article comment by: You're right - No Need to Comment

You're right. There's no need for comments like yours. When she was still a child she lost her mother, and her father was blamed and taken away from her, it looks like unfairly. Walk a mile in the shoes of either this man or his traumatized daughter before you (comment).

Posted: Friday, September 24, 2010
Article comment by: To No Need to Comment

So, you would say that a teenager, whose mother had died a horrific and violent death, was dealing with the real possibility of her father and sole remaining parent going to the gas chamber for a crime she was desperate to believe him innocent for, is simply to be locked up?
Wow. I didn't know that sinless perfection existed in Prescott.
If you can't imagine the anguish that this family is going through, then you have no soul.

Posted: Friday, September 24, 2010
Article comment by: to: no need to comment

You need to watch your mouth! ... Give her a break for heaven's sake, she lost her mother in a senseless and absolutely horrible manner ... she's grieving beyond belief. And no mention of Katie in any of this so no the whole family is not involved. ...

Posted: Friday, September 24, 2010
Article comment by: R J

If Mr. DeMocker fabricated the e-mail about the drug ring hit, it certainly does not prove that he is guilty..........just scared and stupid.

Posted: Friday, September 24, 2010
Article comment by: This is One Time I Agree with Barney

Barney's right, Charlotte does have to testify unless stipulations can be agreed upon in advance. Hopefully, the prosecution knows its facts and can get the process over quickly. I do not think the defense will make it too difficult on Charlotte because they know the general public would have their hide. Unfortunately, Renee may have a lot more problems with the defense in her testimony (I sure hope they don't try to make her the bad guy). I expect that Renee will be on the stand for a long time and it will probably be the hardest thing she will ever do in her life. Good luck to her, I think most of us see her as another victim in this tragedy.

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