Dean Craven

Dean Craven

A man accused of stabbing his mother more than 300 times has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder with mental illness.

Dean Craven, 29, of Shenango Township, appeared in the courtroom of Judge J. Craig Cox on May 30 to agree to a plea arrangement in the death of 57-year-old Lauri Craven, who suffered stab wounds to her head, face, neck and body. Craven allegedly stabbed her using a sharpened screwdriver the morning of Jan. 29, 2017, in her Neshannock Township home. The state police subsequently charged him with criminal homicide, aggravated assault and having prohibited offensive weapons.

His sentencing on the first-degree murder plea is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. July 10 in Cox's courtroom. The other charges against him will be dismissed as part of the plea.

Craven is accused of killing his mother, then trying to commit suicide by various means. According to a statement he reportedly gave state police at the time of his arrest, Craven had planned his mother's murder and his suicide, and said that she had mentally abused him since he was a child.

A state trooper who testified at his preliminary hearing last year described Craven's behavior as calm during the interview, saying that he didn't show any signs of sadness or distress.

"He acted like he was telling a story that didn't involve somebody being murdered," the trooper had told the court. He said Craven was fully cooperative and didn't try to minimize what happened, nor was he deceptive.

Craven's defense attorney in the case is David J. Schrager of Pittsburgh. District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa is prosecuting the case.

dwachter@ncnewsonline.com

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