Cost Approaches $5 Million for Washington State Death Penalty Trial


The cost of preparing for the trials of the two defendants in the 2007 killing of a Carnation, Wa., family of six has reached $4.9 million. reports the Seattle Times. Michele Anderson, 33, and Joseph McEnroe, 33, who are accused of gunning down Anderson’s family, are not expected to hear opening statements in their cases until next year.

A million-dollar price tag for the prosecution and defense of defendants facing the death penalty isn’t unusual, but the amount spent on the Carnation case is the largest in prepping for a potential death-penalty case since the prosecution of Green River killer Gary Ridgway. Between 2001, when Ridgway was identified as a suspect in the serial killings, and 2003, when he pleaded guilty to 48 counts of aggravated murder, the county spent nearly $12 million on the extensive investigation, as well as prosecution and defense. Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, D.C., said the average cost for trial as well as post-conviction appeals for one death-penalty defendant is $3 million — compared to an average of about $1.1 million for the trial, appeals, and incarceration for a murder defendant who is sentenced to life in prison.

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