Tuesday, August 01, 2000

Love and money led to killing, police say

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The pilot's wife decided it was time. Time to summon her lover to her house, to put their plans into action.

        It was time, police say she decided, for her husband to die.

        They said Adele Craven started the events of July 12 that would end with her husband, Steven, beaten and shot dead on the basement floor of their Edgewood home. They said she called her handyman boyfriend, Rusty McIntire, who quickly arrived.

        “The motive is one of love and money,” said Kenton County Police Capt. Ed Butler. “I think it's fair to say that they wanted to be together.”

        Mr. McIntire brought with him to the house that morning a former co-worker, Ronald Pryor. Police say Mr. Pryor killed Mr. Craven for $1,000 and the promise of $14,000 more.

        Mrs. Craven stood in the basement while her husband of nearly a dozen years was being violently killed, police said Monday. And although she initially claimed she had

        been shopping all day and came home to find the house burglarized, investigators say she left the house that morning knowing her husband had been killed by a man she and her lover enlisted.

        Mr. Craven's blood was splattered around the basement — evidence, court records say, of the multiple hits he took from a green crowbar. The 38-year-old Delta Air Lines pilot fell to the basement floor and died from three gunshots fired at his head.

        The shots were fired, police said Monday, by the only person involved without love for a motive — Mr. Pryor, a car washer from Independence.

        Mrs. Craven and Mr. McIntire were in the basement when the killing took place, police said. To help cover up the noise from the shots, Mr. McIntire had parked his pickup behind the Craven home on Carimel Ridge, threw open the doors and turned the radio up loud, they said.

        It was the same pickup in which Mr. McIntire, a 32-year-old hus band and father from Erlanger, and Mrs. Craven were found June 1 by Edgewood police. The truck was parked behind St. Pius X Church, where the two of them were engaged in a sexual act in the truck bed, police said.

        None of the three suspects has any significant criminal record, no history of anything violent. Mr. Pryor, 33, was once convicted of growing marijuana. Now, each could face the death sentence for Mr. Craven's killing.

        Killing for money is among the aggravating circumstances that can justify a request for the death penalty. Commonwealth Attorney Don Buring said Monday he thinks all three of them are eligible for death under the law, but he has not decided whether to seek it.

        Court records unsealed Monday show that investigators found bloody footprints at the scene, prints too big to be Mrs. Craven's. They also say a neighbor was with Mrs. Craven on July 10, two days before her husband's death, when she gave a package to Mr. McIntire. Authorities said Monday they think that package held the gun.

        The gun has not been recovered.

        Both men have admitted some involvement in the killing, Capt. Butler said. Mrs. Craven, 37, is scheduled to appear in court again this afternoon.

        How Mr. McIntire could be so in love with Mrs. Craven that it motivated him to help her kill, Mr. McIntire's father said Monday that he didn't “have the slightest idea.”

        Russell McIntire said he and his namesake son had worked together at the father's construction company until about four months ago. His son got another job that he hoped would be higher paying. He held down two other jobs at the same time, including at Delta Air Lines as a baggage handler.

        The elder Mr. McIntire agreed to speak with reporters, hoping his candor would persuade the media to leave his shocked family alone for the duration of the case. But first, he wanted to paint a different picture of the son now suspected as an adulterer and a killer.

        “This horrible incident has devastated three families,” he said, expressing sympathy particularly for the Cravens' sons, ages 6 and 8.

        Mr. McIntire hesitated when asked if he knew his son was having an affair, then declined to comment.


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