Your right to an attorney. It's a right we all have. Even if we can't afford
one, one will be appointed for us. But in the end, who picks up the tab for
those lawyers? KIDY's Senora Scott this evening with a look at how many alleged
killers are in our jail right now, and how much it's costing us.
As of mid-September, in the Tom Green County Jail, there are 4 people charged
with murder and 10 people charged with Capital Murder. Of those cases involving
Capital Murder, it's estimated they'll cost 1 to 2 million dollars per person.
So who's paying for it? You are.
"Each county bears the burden of the expense of any death penalty trial," 51st
District Attorney Allison Palmer said.
So why do they cost so much? If the state is seeking the death penalty, defense
attorneys from the regional public defender's office will take the case. These
lawyers are based out of Lubbock but have offices all over the state.
"Capital murder cases take longer to get to trial and capital murder cases
where we're seeking the death penalty are vastly more expensive than other
kinds of prosecutions," Palmer said.
Travel, scheduling, experts witnesses, gathering all types of evidence, and lab
testing are just a few factors that rack up the taxpayer's bill. How many of
these current cases are going to potentially fall under this category?
"I have given notice that I intend to seek death on 4 offenders, 4 indicted
offenders," Palmer said.
Allison Palmer is the one who makes those decisions but she says she takes the
jury into account when doing so. She asks herself the questions the jury would
be asked. Like: Will the defendant be a future danger to society? Is there a
criminal history? Did the person act as an accomplice or commit the crime
themselves? Still the sheer number of pending cases creates its own set of
"I've been here for more than 20 years in this district attorney's office and
we've gone for a period of years without any homicide cases, without any murder
cases, much less capital offenses," Palmer said.
And some of these cases involve juveniles - or people under the age of 17. We
can't show their faces or give their names but palmer told me - due to their
age, they are not eligible for the death penalty. While there are just a few
juveniles involved, most would say, it's a few too many.
"It's the 1st time in my experience where offenders under the age of 17 have
been charged with a capital offense," Palmer said.
If the courts stays on schedule, a few of those trials are slated to begin in
Raleigh man charged with killing his wife
Ukranian immigrant Volodymyr Kocherhin and his wife, Olha Kocherhina, had both
been in trouble with the law in recent years for driving under the influence
and minor larcenies.
Now Kocherhin, 51, faces the possibility of life in prison or the death
penalty, after he was charged over the weekend with the 1st-degree murder of
his wife. Kocherhin had called police from behind a Kimbrell's Furniture store
on New Bern Avenue early Friday morning to report that he'd found his wife
"lying in blood" in the grass after she had gone missing the day before.
A sheriff's deputy pushed the wheelchair-bound Kocherhin into a Wake County
District courtroom Monday afternoon for his 1st court appearances. A week
earlier, he had pleaded guilty in Wake District Court to shoplifting and was
given credit for the 20 days he had spent in jail.
Kocherhin and his wife were both scheduled to appear in court Nov. 17 in Dare
County where police charged him with driving while impaired on July 20. They
charged Olha Kocherhina with one misdemeanor count each of aiding and abetting
an impaired driver and possession of an open container and consuming alcohol in
the passenger area of the vehicle they were traveling in, state records show.
Dare County law officials revoked Kocherhin's driver's license for 30 days,
pending the outcome of the DWI trial, state records show.
In 2007, police in Chatham County, Ga., charged Kocherhin with driving under
the influence, along with a misdemeanor count of endangering the life of a
child, state records show.
Olha Kocherhina was convicted in a Wake County courtroom of driving while
impaired on April 6. She was sentenced to 1 year probation, state records show.
Investigators reported that Kocherhina???s blood alcohol content was .35, more
that 4 times the state limit of .08. Kocherhina spent nine days in jail after
her arrest and lost her driver's license.
A Wake County judge ordered her to complete child safety and substance abuse
programs after she pleaded guilty in 2009 to being intoxicated and disruptive.
She was also convicted that year of shoplifting, state records show.
In 2008, the couple was convicted of misdemeanor larceny and sentenced to 1
year probation and ordered to complete 45 days of community service, state
Investigators say Olha Kocherhina, 44, died of internal injuries, but they have
not provided details or the circumstances surrounding her death. An arrest
warrant charging Kocherhin with murder does not list a weapon.
Kocherhin called 911 shortly before 1:30 a.m. Friday. He told an emergency
dispatcher he did not speak English very well, and the dispatcher relied on an
interpreter to communicate with him.
Kocherhin said that he last saw his wife the day before when they had lunch
together. He said that his wife had gone to the pool but never returned and
that he called a taxi to help him look for her.
Kocherhin did not answer the dispatcher when she asked where his wife lived. He
said he did not know why she was in the back of a parking lot.
Triple murder suspect in court after requesting speedy trial
A man accused of killing his wife and her 2 children appeared in court Monday
after he submitted a handwritten request for a speedy trial.
The request by Luis Toledo, 34, would have had his trial starting in 45 days.
Toledo is charged with three counts of murder, accused of killing his wife
Yessenia and her children 9-year-old Thalia and 8-year-old Michael.
The family was reported missing from their Deltona home in October of 2013.
Volusia County Judge Raul Zambrano told Toledo and 1 of his 3 defense
attorneys, "I need to know whether there is any issues between you and him or
he's on his own. This is a chance to say whatever he wants to say if he wants
to say anything at all."
Toledo had nothing to say.
Defense attorney Jeff Dean asked that the motion be stricken.
The judge did just that, but cautioned the defendant.
"Mr. Toledo, I think it is very wise (for you) to go through your attorneys
whenever you want to communicate anything to the court," Zambrano said. "To
file something like this in the court file will cause me react and schedule a
hearing and I think it's very inconvenient to the attorneys to have to run from
wherever they are on a very short moment's notice to address these issues. So
always go through your attorneys. You do have a right to demand (a) speedy
trial and your attorney can tell you how, and what is the proper way to
exercise that right."
The bodies of Toledo's wife and children have not been found.
If convicted of killing either of the children, Toledo could face the death
There is a tentative trial date of Jan. 9.
(source: WESH news)
Mistrial ruled in Seman case; change of venue denied
Judge Maureen Sweeney Monday denied defense motions to move the capital murder
case of Robert Seman out of Mahoning County but she did agree to grant a
mistrial and to dismiss the pool of jurors summoned for duty in the case.
Judge Sweeney instead ruled that a new pool of jurors will be summoned for the
case against Seman, 47, of Green Township, who could face the death penalty if
convicted of the deaths of Corinne Gump, 10, and her grandparents, William and
Judith Schmidt, during a March 30, 2015, arson at the Schmidts' Powers Way home
on the day Seman was to go on trial on a charge of raping the girl.
Seman was free on bond at the time of the fire.
A new trial date has not been set. A pretrial hearing in the case is set for
Judge Sweeney based her mistrial ruling on arguments made by defense attorneys
that during the Sept. 9 jury orientation, 1 of the jurors filling out a
questionnaire was discussing the case with other potential jurors, which
violated the oath that potential jurors took to not discuss the case.
That juror, defense attorneys claimed, already had determined that Seman was
guilty and he was telling other potential jurors details of the case, which
defense attorneys said skewed the pool against Seman and made it harder to find
an impartial jury.
"There is no way to ferret out the negative publicity," said defense attorney
Lynn Maro, in a brief oral hearing before Judge Sweeney issued her ruling.
Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer McLaughlin said during the hearing that there is
evidence that jurors were following instructions because they told the juror
who was making remarks about the case to stop talking about it.
"They told the juror to stop talking about it as you instructed them to do so,"
Jury orientation in the case was Sept. 9, when more than 150 jurors reported to
the courtroom to be questioned by attorneys to see if they could serve as
jurors in the case. Individual questioning of jurors began Sept. 13, however,
it was halted shortly after that because Judge Sweeney was attending a
previously scheduled judicial conference.
Defense attorneys filed motions months ago to change the venue of the trial
because of intense pretrial publicity, and Judge Sweeney denied that motion
Sept. 12 but said she would revisit it during the jury selection process if it
became difficult to pick a jury.
She said in her ruling Monday that she still thinks a motion to change venue in
the case is "premature," but she added she is troubled that some people called
for jury duty in the case ignored the oath they took before they filled out the
questionnaires to not discuss the case.
In her ruling, Judge Sweeney said when the next jury pool reports for
orientation, they will be split into small groups and those groups will be
taken into the courtroom separately to be given their oaths and instructions,
and that a deputy sheriff will then accompany each group as they fill out their
Seman is eligible for the death penalty if convicted of aggravated murder
because prosecutors charged he killed the witness to a crime; killed a person
younger than 13; killed 2 or more people; killed to escape prosecution from a
crime; and killed someone in the commission of another felony, which in this
case means aggravated arson or aggravated burglary.
If jurors find Seman is eligible for the death penalty, a 2nd phase of the
trial, or mitigation phase, will take place at which defense attorneys will
present evidence to jurors showing them why they should spare Seman's life.
Double murder death penalty trial continues
As she lay dying from 2 gunshot wounds, Carly Hughley told her 10-year-old son,
"Tell the family I love them," the now 14-year-old boy testified in Harvey Lee
Jones' murder trial.
Jones, 37, could face the death penalty if he's found guilty in the Jan. 24,
2013 aggravated double murder of Hughley, 32, and Demetrius Beckwith, 29 in a
Harrison Twp. apartment.
Jones has pleaded not guilty to 6 counts of aggravated murder, 2 counts of
aggravated burglary, 2 counts of kidnapping, 2 counts of aggravated robbery,
and 1 count of having a weapon under disability.
The boy told the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court jury on Monday that Jones
lived with him and his mother for a few months in 2012 and that during that
time he saw Jones "every day."
Asked by Montgomery County assistant prosecutor Dan Brandt if Hughley and Jones
got along, the boy replied, "sometimes," that "they would argue" and that Jones
sent his mother threatening text messages.
The boy testified how he and his mother were watching TV in the living room
before he went upstairs to watch TV in his bedroom.
The boy said he knew when "Fatboy" (Beckwith) came over and that when he heard
the door open again, he saw Jones enter the apartment.
The boy testified that he hid behind the stairway wall and saw Jones with a gun
in his hand shoot his mother and Beckwith 7 times.
The boy testified that he saw Jones then take a phone, money and keys out of
his mother's and Beckwith's clothes and leave the apartment.
The boy recounted how - with blood on his hands from listening to his mother's
last words - he asked a neighbor for help and told law enforcement about the
gold car Jones drove. He used a pointer to show jurors where on the stairs he
was when he watched the incident.
On cross examination by defense attorney Dennis Lieberman, the boy denied
saying some statements from a police interview, that Beckwith often had a lot
of cash and that he wasn't sure what Jones was wearing the night of the
The boy denied telling deputies that all 3 adults had walked out of the
apartment together before Jones forced the other 2 to get on the floor in the
The boy testified that he remembered his mother saying, "Please don't hurt my
baby," that Beckwith begged for Jones to just take his money and not hurt him.
The boy also said he thought Jones never saw him.
On redirect examination, Brandt asked the boy to identify Jones, which he did
by pointing to him in the courtroom and saying the defendant was wearing a
Brand also asked if he was certain that Jones pulled the trigger and the boy
said, "Yes." Asked if he'd ever forget that night, the boy said, "No."
Earlier Monday, Harrison Twp. first responders testified about the life-saving
efforts they tried on Hughley and that a firefighter had left a bloody
boot-print on the backside of a rug. Photos of the scene were shown to the
The trial in Judge Steven Dankof's courtroom resumes Tuesday in front of 12
jurors and 6 alternates.
(source: WHIO news)
State answers Rule 37 petition of convicted killer----State says convicted
killer provides no proof for allegations
The state of Arkansas answered a Rule 37 petition filed by convicted double
murderer Nicholas Ian Roos, stating the allegations in the petition are without
merit, the petition was filed too late and that Roos never says in the petition
he did not shoot and kill Midway couple Donald and LaDonna Rice during an armed
robbery conspiracy with 2 co-defendants who have pled to lesser roles in the
One of the claims Roos made centered around what he alleged was a faulty
identification of him as a suspect. Roos, who is serving a life sentence,
claimed the witness was allowed to view Roos alone and handcuffed. What Roos
failed to say in the petition, the state points out, is that the witness came
to police first, stating he saw 2 men exit the woods where the victims' burned
out truck was found and gave them a ride.
Roos, 23, of Flippin, also alleged in his petition that his attorneys,
Katherine Streett and Teri Reynolds, provided ineffective counsel, did not file
a motion to suppress evidence nor did they investigate his claim that he
suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. Roos also alleged in his petition that his
guilty plea was coerced by his attorneys who allegedly told him if he did not
plea, he would get the death penalty.
In answer to those allegations, prosecutors noted Streett and Reynolds have
each handled more than 50 death penalty cases and are "2 of the finest death
penalty qualified attorneys in the state."
It was also noted by prosecutors that defense attorneys are not required to
file a flurry of motions in order to see which ones stick. The state said the
evidence against Roos and his codefendants Mikayla Mynk and Zach Grayham was
overwhelming including a confession by Roos himself, a codefendant who agreed
to testify against him, being seen in the vicinity of the stolen, burned out
truck of the victims and being in possession of items identified as stolen from
the Rice home.
Roos also claims in his petition that his attorneys did not sufficiently
investigate his claim of suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. In answer to
this claim, the state notes Roos offered no tangible proof of being diagnosed
with the disease. Prosecutors note a diagnosis such as the one Roos claims is a
life-long diagnosis that would leave a significant paper trail through the
medical profession and with social workers. Bad behavior, the state argued, is
just that, and not an indication of mental disease.
Finally, prosecutors noted Roos' petition was not filed within the time frame
allowed by and should be denied by the court for that reason alone.
Circuit Court Judge Gordon Webb, who handled the case and accepted Roos' guilty
plea to killing the couple, appointed local attorneys John Crain and Justin
Downum to assist Roos with the petition. Electronic court records indicate Roos
is scheduled to appear Oct. 25 in Baxter County Circuit Court.
(source: The Baxter Bulletin)
A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu
DeathPenalty mailing list