DA wants death penalty for parents in Russian adoption case

Date: 2011-08-31

DA wants death penalty for parents in Russian adoption case

Nanette and Michael Craver face capital prosecution in connection with 7-year-old son's murder.
By RICK LEE
Daily Record/Sunday News
Updated: 08/31/2011 05:13:27 PM EDT

A Carroll township couple accused in the beating and neglect death of their adopted Russian son will face a death penalty prosecution, Chief Deputy Prosecutor Tim Barker said Monday morning.

Michael Craver, 45, and Nanette Craver, 54, were in York County Common Pleas Court monday for their formal arraignment on charges of criminal homicide, endangering the welfare of a child and criminal conspiracy. Both are being held without bail.

Nathaniel Craver, 7, died Aug. 25, 2009, at Hershey Medical Center of complications from traumatic brain injury coupled with a "severe failure to thrive," Dr. Wayne Ross, who performed the autopsy, said at the Cravers' April 29 preliminary hearing.

Ross testified the emaciated child, adopted by the Cravers in 2003, had been repeatedly beaten over a period of time.
Barker said today the aggravating circumstances that merit the District Attorney's Office seeking the death penalty for the defendants include the age of the victim and that his death occurred through the means of torture.

Judge John S. Kennedy postponed the arraignment proceedings to allow the Cravers time to hire an attorney qualified to represent them in a death penalty case.
Kennedy also ordered both defendants to submit to psychological evaluations.

Attorney Vincent Quinn had been appointed by Kennedy to determine if the Cravers needed separate attorneys for the guilt phase of their trial.

The judge dismissed Quinn from the case after accepting his opinion there is no conflict of interest requiring separate attorneys.

Kennedy said the defendants would need separate attorneys for the penalty phase of the trial if they are convicted of first-degree murder.

The Cravers are to return to Kennedy's courtroom on June 14 for the completion of their arraignment.

York County currently has nine inmates on death row.

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