A 911 call regarding a potential burglary at the Cravens’ home in Edgewood, Kentucky, had the authorities rushing to the location. However, it became clear within days that the death of Stephen Craven was much more than just a botched robbery. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Deadly Affairs: Betrayed By Love: Handsome and Handy’ delves into the reasons behind Stephen’s murder and how a cold-blooded plot to have him killed came to fruition. So, let’s find out more about what happened then, shall we?
How Did Stephen Craven Die?
Stephen Laird Craven was born in October 1961. He met his future wife, Adele Vicuna, while in California, training to be a pilot for the US Coast Guard. The couple married in 1989 and had two sons together. Then, to spend more time with his family, the 38-year-old switched to a job flying for Delta Airlines, and they all moved to Edgewood. On July 12, 2000, Adele came home from a shopping trip to find their front door open and immediately rushed to her neighbor’s home.
A 911 call made sometime in the evening resulted in the first responders finding Stephen dead in the basement, lying face down in a pool of blood. He had been bludgeoned with a blunt object about twelve times and then shot in the head thrice with a .38-caliber handgun. Adele told the police that Stephen was supposed to be away in New York that day, but her involvement became more apparent as more evidence was uncovered.
Who Killed Stephen Craven?
When Adele’s car was searched, the authorities found evidence that she planned to leave in a hurry. They found her passport, children’s documents, clothes, and other utilities. Furthermore, the Cravens had a rocky marriage and saw a counselor. Stephen felt that Adele spent too much money, and she claimed he wanted to have sex too frequently. But according to a friend, “She (Adele) didn’t want to have relations with him, sexual relations. At that point, it was making her skin crawl for him to touch her.”
The authorities learned from other witnesses that Adele had talked about wanting her husband dead and had inquired about a hitman in the past. Also, she had been having an affair with Russell “Rusty” McIntire, the son of a contractor working on their home. However, Adele never mentioned that relationship to the police. When Rusty was questioned, he immediately confessed to what had happened.
Adele and Rusty became friends and bonded because both of them had troubled marriages. Soon, they began an affair, and she came up with the idea to have Stephen killed. Adele convinced Rusty to help her with that; she told him they could start a new life with the insurance money that would come through. Rusty, in turn, found a construction worker named Ron Pryor, who agreed to do it for $15,000.
On the morning of July 12, 2000, Rusty drove up to the Craven residence with Ron. At the time, Adele and Stephen’s children weren’t at home. While Ron hid in the basement, Rusty claimed to have come there to work on a repair job. Then, Adele lured her husband to the basement, where Ron hit him in the head with a crowbar. Then, seeing that Stephen was still alive, Adele gave Ron a .38-caliber firearm, and he shot the pilot thrice.
Rusty told the police that he disposed of the bloody clothes and murder weapons at a garbage transfer station. The clothes were eventually found at a landfill in Williamstown, Kentucky, with DNA testing confirming the blood was Stephen’s. Rusty also led the police to where he threw away the bullets, and a ballistics test matched them to the ones found in Stephen’s body. However, the crowbar and the gun were never found.
Where Are Adele Craven and Rusty McIntire Now?
Ron Pryor was initially sentenced to death in April 2002, and Rusty pled guilty to murder and agreed to testify against Adele in exchange for the death penalty being taken off the table. He was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years. Adele’s first trial ended in a mistrial in 2002, but she was tried again in early 2004. This time, the authorities struck a deal with Ron, changing his death penalty to life in prison without parole in exchange for his testimony.
In February 2004, Adele, then 40, confessed to her involvement and pled guilty to murder. She was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 20 years. Prison records indicate that Adele remains incarcerated at Kentucky Correctional Institution for Women in Pewee Valley, Shelby County. On the other hand, Rusty is serving his sentence at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in La Grange, Kentucky. He will be eligible for parole in 2025.
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