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Crouse faces 13 years for manslaughter

Former fire chief pleads guilty in wife’s death

January 22, 2009
By BILL SHEA, Messenger staff writer

A former Otho fire chief will serve 13 years in prison for killing his wife in their Arizona home more than two years ago under a recently approved plea agreement.

Denny Crouse, 53, pleaded guilty to manslaughter for stabbing his wife, Dianne Crouse, on Nov. 28, 2006, in Queen Creek, Ariz.

Documents filed in Pinal County, Arizona, Superior Court indicate that Crouse will have to pay $500,000 in restitution to his late wife's estate in addition to serving the prison term.

In return for his guilty plea, prosecutors dropped the original charge of first degree murder, plus seven counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. The exploitation counts were filed after investigators found child pornography on a computer belonging to Crouse.

A sentencing hearing has been set for Feb. 27.

''We are not satisfied with it, only relieved we don't have to go through two trials,'' said Gayle Rabbitt, of Gowrie, who is the sister of Dianne Crouse.

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She declined to say anything else about the case.

Dwight Callahan, the Pinal County public defender who represented Denny Crouse, did not return a call seeking comment on the plea deal.

Denny and Dianne Crouse both worked at Trinity Regional Medical Center in Fort Dodge before moving to Arizona in early 2006.

He was an emergency medical technician. She was a registered nurse. Away from work, he was Otho's fire chief and a Webster County Sheriff's Department reserve deputy from 1998 to 2005. In Arizona, he was an emergency medical technician coordinator at Mesa General Hospital. Dianne Crouse was a registered nurse at the same hospital.

Denny Crouse is accused of stabbing his wife to death during a fight in their home. A daughter, Roslyn, who was 8 at the time, came home from school and found her 36-year-old mother on the kitchen floor.

Pinal County sheriff's deputies arrested Crouse later that day. Deputies reported that Crouse admitted killing his wife.

Last year, he pleaded guilty to second degree murder, but quickly withdrew his plea. He faced 16 to 20 years in prison under that deal.

Dianne Crouse was buried in Gowrie Township Cemetery on Dec. 8, 2006.

Contact Bill Shea at (515) 573-2141 or



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