A Carroll Township couple accused of fatally beating their 7-year-old adopted son in August were in York County Court on Friday afternoon.

Michael J. Craver, 45, and Nanette L. Craver, 54, both of 36 Blair Mountain Road, appeared before Common Pleas Judge John S. Kennedy, who spoke about the "number of disadvantages to being represented by the same lawyers."

The Cravers are charged with homicide, child endangerment and conspiracy to commit both charges for the Aug. 25 homicide of 7-year-old Nathaniel Craver. They adopted the boy, along with his twin sister, from a Russian orphanage in 2003.

Nathaniel died of complications from traumatic brain injury, authorities said, and he was also malnourished. He suffered some 80 external injuries in various stages of healing, police said.

His sister is in a safe place and being well cared for, Barker has said.

The Cravers have retained Bloomsburg attorney Gregory Moro and York County attorney David Hershey to jointly represent both of them.

But because they are co-defendants, they must be fully apprised of what that decision entails, the judge said. Normally co-defendants have separate attorneys.

Moro told the judge that Nanette Craver has no questions, but Michael Craver doesn't really understand why having separate attorneys could be preferable. [So you can each accuse the other!]

Kennedy said he will appoint an independent attorney to visit Michael Craver in prison to answer his questions.

Friday's hearing was prompted after prosecutors filed a motion about the attorney issue.

"We want to make sure the record is clean and all bases are covered in protecting the rights of the defendants," chief deputy prosecutor Tim Barker said, and also want to ensure there are no "concerns down the road."

Barker confirmed that, if convicted, the Cravers could appeal, arguing they weren't properly represented because they were represented by the same attorneys.

"It doesn't happen all the time, but it can happen ... as long as there is no conflict of interest," Barker said of co-defendants sharing an attorney.