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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news April 15, 2014

10/23/2008 4:47:00 PM
Sheriff's Office arrests ex-husband in Carol Kennedy homicide
Carol Kennedy
Carol Kennedy
Steven Democker
Steven Democker

T.M. Shultz
The Daily Courier

Yavapai County Sheriff's officials arrested Steven DeMocker Thursday afternoon in Phoenix on the charge of first-degree homicide in the death of his former wife, Carol Kennedy, 53, who died of blunt-force trauma in her Prescott home on July 2 - 35 days after the couple's May 28 divorce.

YCSO officials also arrested DeMocker, 54, on a charge of first-degree burglary in the case.

For the first time YCSO officials revealed that Kennedy died from blows to the head.

They believe DeMocker approached Kennedy's home through a forested area behind her house.

A source close to the investigation says the case likely will hinge on convincing a jury that DeMocker had the means, motive and opportunity to kill his ex-wife.

YCSO officers took DeMocker into custody around 2 p.m. at UBS Wealth Management on Camelback Road where the company's website lists him as senior vice president for investments.

Officers brought DeMocker to the Yavapai County jail for booking.

DeMocker will have his initial appearance today at Prescott Justice Court when a judge could set his bond, YCSO officials said.

Because no one saw Kennedy's murder, physical and circumstantial evidence detectives gathered in and around her home in the hours and days following her death will be basis of the case, Yavapai County Sheriff Steve Waugh said.

Within days of Kennedy's murder, detectives zeroed in on what they then termed "a person of interest," saying the crime was not random.

Kennedy was on the phone with her mother, Ruth Kennedy, of Nashville, Tenn., when she was killed, officials said.

"She just said, 'Oh, no,' and the phone went dead," Ruth Kennedy told the Daily Courier shortly after her daughter died.

She said she called the Sheriff's Office and asked deputies to check on her daughter at her home in the 7400 block of Bridle Path Road. When they arrived around 8 p.m., they found Kennedy dead.

Part of the evidence detectives gathered included bicycle track impressions near Kennedy's home.

Court documents The Daily Courier obtained show that Kennedy and DeMocker divorced after 25 years of marriage.

The documents portray a couple living beyond their means and arguing in court over money.

In court documents filed prior to the divorce being granted, DeMocker argued that he was being "saddled with the majority of the parties' debt" and that Kennedy was "taking unreasonable positions" during their divorce.

He argued that the couple "had been unable to pay their monthly overhead for some time." The documents went on to say that the couple "were making up the shortfall by accumulating several thousands of dollars a month in new debt," including taking out a loan and using credit cards "to subsidize the parties' negative cash flow."

DeMocker also argued in the documents that he should not have to pay spousal support to Kennedy and that she had been "voluntarily underemployed."

He argued that he had been supporting Kennedy for almost five years since their separation.

Kennedy was a faculty member at Prescott College from 1989 to 2000. During the past eight years, she occasionally taught classes and mentored students there. She also was an artist and printmaker.

And, for almost a year before she died, she was a full-time therapist at Pia's Place in Prescott working with women who have alcohol and drug dependency issues.

Contact the reporter at tshultz@prescottaz.com

Related Stories:
• DeMocker pleads not guilty at arraignment
• Grand jury indicts DeMocker on first-degree murder, burglary charges
• Judge denies DeMocker bail in murder case

Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Article comment by: No name provided

Carol sat beside me in 1st grade.

Posted: Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Article comment by: Bill Holley

My wife & I are totally freaking out. Carol did fashion modeling for me when she was 16 years old. Had a few minutes and decided to Google to see if I could locate her. Found her web site and e-mailed her a short message. After that I noticed your web site and was totally shocked and grieved to find that she was murdered!!! If you have contact with her mother and if she feels like it...to call my wife and I at 615.794.0248

Posted: Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Article comment by: No name provided

What a horrible thing to happen. We are not allowed to know all the information while they are in process of conviction. I understand this. It would be wonderful if someone would do a follow-up on Carol's life, for this is a part of who she is, but not everything. She was a wonderful human who deserves to have her accomplishments known to the public in which she served.

Posted: Thursday, October 30, 2008
Article comment by: No name provided

has anyone heard anything about the arraignment that was held on Tuesday?

Posted: Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Article comment by: another obvious

I hate that this happens in life, but it does. Good people go bad all the time. He blew it, one way or the other. I have known them both for a very long time, and I can see the cracks in the foundation!!!!! I frankly am not so suprised that Steve is the primary suspect. It was not a hastey arrest on part of the police dept. I wiah it was otherwise....

Posted: Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Article comment by: observer

To say that the police have rushed to judgment is irresponsible. They have their jobs on the line, i can bet with certainty that they have the evidence they need" -- No Name Provided it's just because of the pressure you describe that we should question the police case against democker. the state of illinois suspended the death penalty because police caved into public pressure and falsely accused many of capital crimes resulting in death sentences. police are a necessary evil. watch them closely.

Posted: Monday, October 27, 2008
Article comment by: No name provided

it was tragic enough that carol was murdered, and will defiantly be an even further tragedy if steve was the murderer. but to say that the police have rushed to judgment is irresponsible. they have their jobs on the line, i can bet with certainty that they have the evidence they need. just sit tight folks, not to sya that steve is a killer, but people have committed murder before who were never believed to have done anything so horrible before. and i seriously doubt it was about money. sometime we think we know someone when in fact, we really don't. just sit tight folks, it'll all come out at the trial.

Posted: Sunday, October 26, 2008
Article comment by: Shameful article

If the police have evidence that links him to the crime they should either let it be known or tell the Courier not to write a frontpage article about it. The article said very little about the crime and evicence. When you don't have anything to say then you should keep quiet. The junk about the divorce is tabloid gossip, shows very poor judgement on the part of the Courier editor to allow that in the paper, extremely bad journalism, almost shameful.

Posted: Sunday, October 26, 2008
Article comment by: Friend to both Carol and Steve

It's absolutely justified to question the police here. In fact, it's imperative when you consider the cost of wrongly accusing someone. Steve's already being punished right now. The police have been talking freely about seeking DNA evidence, as recently as two weeks ago when they announced publicly that an arrest would hinge on blood chemistry analysis. Steve's arrest, because it follows that public statement, implies police have a positive blood link to Steve. Ask the police what they found. Nothing, perhaps? And is that then why they want to hinge this case on "means, opportunity and motive" NOT on hard evidence? The motive the police are trying to sell to the public through this paper is that Steve killed Carol over money. Beware the spin. Yes, he'll have his day to prove himself innocent, but that will probably be a year or more from now, and by then a great deal of damage will have been done to a person who never could have done this. The trial has already begun, at least in the public realm--previous reader comments already convict Steve. And "hungry public" isn't meant as dismissive of valid community concern. It's in reference to this paper's own report of fielding many calls from folks asking why the police hadn't made an arrest yet. It's no great stretch to state that community concern can translate to pressure on police to produce, even when they lack clear evidence. Keep questioning. Change the time and circumstances, and it could be you or me.

Posted: Sunday, October 26, 2008
Article comment by: Anonymous

Someone wrote..."i know that in this type of case she would want the criminal to pay for the loss, the pain and the suffering he created"....it's the word "he" that reads funny to me. Guilty until proven innocent I presume? Now people are assuming the gender of the murderer is known! We believe what we read, even when we don't want to, or mean to. Once a thing is read, we automatically then treat it as a truth that we either reject or sustain. Steve is being charged with a murder, it doesn't mean anything but that he has been charged. Anyone who has spent time with Steve would know that he is no murderer. That isn't an assumption on my part, it's just a fact...the only fact to come out of the arrest thus far.

Posted: Sunday, October 26, 2008
Article comment by: sassylynn

Friend to both Carol and Steve, how do you know what evidence the police may or may not have? Just because it has not been put forth to the media does not mean that there is no DNA evidence. I highly doubt that Steve was arrested just because he and Carol were divorced. And I never saw a "hungry public" calling for an arrest. What I saw was many people who knew Carol calling for patience, I saw people wanting this investigation to be done carefully and without error, so that the one responsible for this tragedy could be brought to justice. And if Steve is the one that police believe the evidence points to, then I do not think that you or anyone has a right be critical of them. Instead of saying the police are incompetent and just trying to bring an end to the case by arresting anyone, why not wait and see what the evidence shows. If Steve is not guilty, I am sure that a jury of his peers will find him so.

Posted: Sunday, October 26, 2008
Article comment by: Friend to both Carol and Steven

Gentle reminder: There's a lot more to this story than you'll read here. Steve and Carol are/were good people and loving parents. Their marriage ended, as half of all marriages do. They argued over money, as most divorcing couples do--it's an inherently emotional and painful time. There's no history of domestic violence, no criminal record, no wrenching child custody battle, no jealous ex Carol was afraid of, apparently no DNA evidence after months of looking hard for it; nothing but a divorce that was several years in the making. Police couple that with circumstantial evidence and conclude Steven ought to be charged with murder? Sounds to me like they didn't have anything, and were under pressure to deliver a suspect to the hungry public, despite the huge cost to the family, and most of all to Steve. Steve would never strike another human being, much less the mother of his beloved girls. Bless him and his family--they've been through a nightmare these last months.

Posted: Saturday, October 25, 2008
Article comment by: friend

I'm sure everyone thinks he's guilty but Steve is a great dad and I for one do not believe he did this. They may have been divorced for only 35 days but they were separated for over 5 years, so why now? Think about it. The police have nothing thats why they have to "convince" a jury. Everyone needs to pipe down and give it a rest. Nor Carol or Steve would want their girls to have to go thru such heartache so please be respectful to their dad. Good or bad that's their only parent they have left.

Posted: Saturday, October 25, 2008
Article comment by: feeling some relief

i know Steve, and knew Carol and had met their daughters. i was hoping an arrest would be made quickly to satisfy my need for some closure. but this is only the beginning of closure, if at all. a compelling case has to be made, in public, and then presented to a jury, perhaps with some of us. as much as i would like to think i know the truth, i really don't. then after the jury's verdict, if this case goes to trial, i'll have to decided if i believe the jury acted properly. it's very difficult to let the process play out, but what, in fairness to all, is our alternative? btw, before this is over, we'll all know more than we ever wanted to about details of the personal lives of the accused and the victim. that's just how it is.

Posted: Saturday, October 25, 2008
Article comment by: Saddened

My heart goes out to their two daughters who have in some ways just lost both of their parents. It is tragic and I really hope that they have a strong support system around them. I also ask the general public to watch what they say in public because the girls are still part of our community and do not need to hear anyone gossiping about their tragedy. Please be respectful to these to young women.

Posted: Friday, October 24, 2008
Article comment by: be patient

Oh just shut up???? Oh puleeeezzz...I am sure the police frequently just "guess" when they are putting a man in jail for a homicide?!? That comment borders on incoherent. If in fact Democker is guilty or innocent let all the facts come out before "guessing" what the evidence is. There is a process here, let's allow it to work before babbling on from an obviously subjective view point! I know many people in this town who think the police are right on the money. This is going to get very interesting for sure.

Posted: Friday, October 24, 2008
Article comment by: Friend of the family

Wayne, it's a remarkable leap of logic to say that statements lifted verbatim from divorce documents point to motive in this case. The statements above cite disagreements related to the manner in which this couple handled their finances, but those statements do not equate to motive for homicide. If these documents demonstrated incidences of domestic disturbance or battery - which they appear not to do – then one might begin to establish motive. But in the absence of animus, mere disagreement over an issue does not – by itself – constitute motive. Either the author of this article does not understand this point of law….or is just out to sell more papers. Folks, please show some respect for the family and the legal process - and stop your rush to judgment here.

Posted: Friday, October 24, 2008
Article comment by: obvious

I thought so.

Posted: Friday, October 24, 2008
Article comment by: Wm.

"Please"<<<<< I hope you're not suggesting people who make poor decisions and "live beyond their means" justifies being murdered?!? Good God has this family not suffered enough without your insane comment?!?

Posted: Friday, October 24, 2008
Article comment by: Oh just shut up!

Will all of you wake up please? This was not a crime based around money. When they got divorced he gave up his claim to all of her estate. None of us really know what happened and the police are obviously just guessing and trying to give SOME conclusion to this horrible and drawn out investigation. Carol's ex husband was a convenient target and was easy to arrest on circumstantial evidence, not on proof. This poor family has obviously been through a great deal in the last few months and for you people to be condemning this man already is disgusting. This is a badly written article on very little information. And none of us have any idea what the actual situation was or what the family dynamics were like. So please, spare us your two cents and your cretin like opinions. My thoughts go out to the family and mostly to Katie and Charlotte. Love is surrounding you two always.

Posted: Friday, October 24, 2008
Article comment by: Prayers

Citizen, this isn't so much about money, as it about the horrible statistics when it comes to women being victims of violence/homocide. The sad fact is that in over 96 percent of the cases, it is someone they know, or have known (at least in this day and age it is no longer "swept under the carpet", but has a light on the issue so that others may learn and hopefully, prevent further violence). My heart and prayers go out to her family and children.

Posted: Friday, October 24, 2008
Article comment by: A friend of Carol's

The editor has removed this posting because it violates the terms of use agreement.

Posted: Friday, October 24, 2008
Article comment by: Needs our support

All our love and support should go to her beautiful young daughters whose very personal, family lives have just been exposed and even more saddened. Lean on your friends, teachers and extended family for love and support during this harsh time you must go through. We are here to help you!

Posted: Friday, October 24, 2008
Article comment by: IN SHOCK

I just don't believe it. I am in shock

Posted: Friday, October 24, 2008
Article comment by: Anonymous

This is not an opportunity to voice any kind of opinion other than unconditional support for Ms. Kennedy's loved ones. Please be sensitive.

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