Defense Tab for Accused Clevo Serial Killer: $530,000

How much do taxpayers need to spend when considering the life of an accused serial killer? In Cleveland, the bill so far is $530,000. I will be going to Cleveland in June to cover the trial of Anthony Sowell, a man accused of murdering 11 women and keeping their remains in and around his home on Cleveland’s east side. If convicted, he faces the death penalty.
Over a half-million dollars to ensure Sowell has a solid defense is a legal obligation of course, one that can later mitigate claims of poor defense and lead to a retrial. The judge here, former Cleveland Browns linebacker Dick Ambrose, is smart to approve these requests. He knows that Sowell’s case has been covered by media outlets both national and international and the world will be watching.
Among the costs covered: a mental health specialist, neurodiagnostic testing, a military records expert and a crime scene and forensic pathologist.
Recall O.J. Simpson’s criminal defense cost was at least $3 million – about $4.4 million today – and possibly $6 million. It was the price of innocence.
So Sowell will benefit from the best court-appointed team money can buy, which can sometimes be good. Stephen Grant, the convicted murderer in a previous book I wrote, A Slaying in the Suburbs, also received an ‘A Team’ defense. He was convicted of second-degree murder, rather than the first the prosecution sought. The judge exceeded state guidelines, though, and effectively gave Grant a life sentence of 50 to 80 years, with no chance for parole before 50 years, at which time Grant would be 88. He had hoped for the standard sentence of 15 to 25 years for the second-degree conviction.
But he later told me, as we sat in a prison meeting room for what had become a monthly visit, that he thought the system would never allow him a good defense that might have achieved the 15 to 25 years.
“It would have hurt the careers of those lawyers, if they had gotten me anything less than what I got, they may not have gotten any more work,” Grant said. “There was just no way I could have gotten off with anything that would have kept me in for less than life.”





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