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Changing trial venues is costly

Friday, November 14, 2008

Recent high-profile trial for Scott County man accused of murder cost over $11,000

BENTON -- When it comes to high-profile trials, a change of venue is often needed. But it's also quite costly.

Scott County commissioners received a bill from Boone County during their regular meeting Thursday morning for jury expenses for the trial of Vincent Minner of Matthews held earlier this year on a change of venue. The total costs were $11,010.66.

"And there will be more costs," said Jamie Burger, presiding commissioner. The county will also pay for Minner's housing, as well as pick up the tab for the county investigator, as well as costs incurred by Prosecuting Attorney Paul Boyd through the trial.

The trial resulted in Minner's sentence to life in prison for the Nov. 5, 2006, murder of Michael Terry, whom Minner shot at Terry's Sikeston apartment.

"I don't think the public has any idea that the change of venue costs that much to the county," said Burger.

Pam Glastetter, circuit clerk, explained that, since it was a murder trial, the jury had to be sequestered, and was housed in a hotel for three nights.

"Sequestered juries cost a lot of money," she said. "And the originating county has to pay the cost."

One of the downsides of such trials, Glastetter and commissioners agreed, is that they are unplanned and thus can't be budgeted.

Later in the meeting, Burger called Boone County officials to request itemized receipts, due to what he called "an alarming cost." He said commissioners would not approve a payment until those receipts are reviewed.

Also on Thursday, a public hearing was held for the county to make application for USDA Rural Development grant funds to assist in the replacement of two Sheriff's Department patrol vehicles, each having in excess of 150,000 miles. No members of the public were in attendance,

Based on countywide income levels, the county is eligible for 15 percent of the total project. According to paperwork provided by the commission, a state bid price of the 2009 Crown Victoria Police Interceptors is available at $24,727 from Joe Machens Ford. Vehicle prep and delivery is $860 per car, and equipment costs are $8,413 per vehicle. The total project estimate is $68,000-- $57,080 of local funds and $10,200 in the grant request.