Michael and Nanette Craver were back in York County Court Wednesday morning, where a judge refused to overturn their convictions and declined to reduce their nearly $100,000 in court costs.
A jury previously acquitted the former Carroll Township parents of murder, instead finding them guilty of involuntary manslaughter, two counts of child endangerment and conspiracy to commit all three charges. On Nov. 18, they were sentenced to time served, each having spent 567 days in county prison.
About three weeks ago, attorneys for the couple filed motions asking Common Pleas Judge John S. Kennedy to overturn the verdicts and grant new trials, arguing the convictions were against the weight of the evidence.
In court Wednesday, Kennedy denied those motions.
He also declined to reduce the Cravers' court costs, which include prosecution fees of $98,058.68; each defendant is responsible for half that amount.
Defense fees: Kennedy said he wished state law would allow him to order the Cravers to pay the costs of their defense as well.
But because the Cravers were represented by public defenders and court-appointed counsel, they cannot be billed for defense fees, chief deputy prosecutor Tim Barker said.
“The taxpayers of York County should be reimbursed” for defense costs, as well as prosecution costs, Kennedy said. He noted the Cravers have earning potential, unlike many other defendants who will never be able to pay off their court costs.
Defense attorneys declined to say how much defense fees totaled, and that information is not available to the public.
Costs ‘unnecessary'? The Cravers' attorneys argued some of the costs of prosecution were unnecessary and unreasonable.
Clasina Houtman, an attorney with Michael Craver's defense team, argued that the prosecution's forensic pathologist charged about $44,000 for his services -- twice as much as the defense's forensic pathologist.
But Barker and York County District Attorney Tom Kearney
maintain the costs accrued, especially from medical experts, are the going rates.
Barker also described the prosecution's case against the Cravers as voluminous and complex.
The Cravers declined comment as they left the York County Judicial Center.
The background: Michael Craver, 47, and Nanette Craver, 56, now of Jim Thorpe, Carbon County, were convicted Sept. 16 in the death of their 7-year-old son, Nathaniel Craver.
They adopted Nathaniel and his sister from a Russian orphanage when the twins were 18 months old.
Kennedy sentenced each of the defendants to 16 months to four years in prison and ordered them to be time-served sentences because the Cravers have already served their minimum sentences.
Nathaniel died at Hershey Medical Center on Aug. 25, 2009, after being removed from life support. He suffered more than 80 external injuries and died of complications due to traumatic brain injury.
Self injury: The Cravers maintain Nathaniel was a very ill boy who suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome, reactive-attachment disorder and other issues that caused him to frequently injure himself, both accidentally and deliberately.
Neither parent was in the room when Nathaniel hurt himself about 7 p.m. Aug. 19, 2009, according to the defense. The Cravers maintain they heard a loud noise and discovered the boy had struck his head, apparently on the family's pellet stove.
Nathaniel initially seemed not to be badly hurt, but at 4:30 the next morning the Cravers discovered he was in a coma and rushed him to the hospital, the defense said.
The prosecution maintains at least one of the parents caused Nathaniel's injuries and that both isolated the boy so no one would know.
-- Reach Elizabeth Evans at email@example.com, 505-5429 or twitter.com/ydcrimetime.
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