Post by SoulTrainOz on Jul 21, 2006 2:28:43 GMT -5
The cost of 2 recent capital murder trials could have been greatly lessened had Fremont County Attorney Ed Newell sought life in prison instead of the death penalty for the defendants, says the head of the Wyoming Public Defender's Office.
Public defender Ken Koski estimated his office spent nearly $500,000 to defend Andrew John Yellowbear Jr. and Floyd DeWayne Grady.
Yellowbear was accused of abusing his toddler daughter to death; Grady of murdering a nurse at the Wyoming Honor Farm.
Both men were convicted, but juries recommended life sentences. Had the death penalty not been sought, defending the cases would have cost $40,000, Koski said.
"Death penalty cases are expensive for the taxpayers of Wyoming," he said. "Life without the possibility of parole is a sentencing option that a prosecutor may seek, greatly reducing the costs and time of trial."
Newell said prosecuting the men cost around $100,000, an estimate Koski called "very low."
Newell, however, pointed out that both men refused plea deals offered by his office. By pursuing the death penalty, he said, he was upholding the will of the people.
"As prosecutors, we swear an oath to uphold the law, and people from the state of Wyoming have determined that with certain murders the death penalty is an appropriate punishment," Newell said. "Prosecutors are obliged to do the people's will."
He said some cases are so brutal and severe that only the death penalty is an appropriate punishment.