[UPDATE] What Did The Gary Michael Hilton Trial Cost?

UPDATED 2:05pm by Julie Montanaro

Public Defender Nancy Daniels estimates it cost her office $149,000 to defend Gary Michael Hilton.

She says that included several expert witnesses, psychological exams, medical tests, deposition transcripts, and travel costs for witnesses who came from as far away as California and Argentina.

Daniels said, "We did not have to incur any of these costs if the state did not seek the death penalty. From the beginning, Mr. Hilton was willing to enter a plea in exchange for a life sentence."

Daniels said she was surprised that the prosecution proceeded with the death penalty given Hilton's age. "It's highly possible he won't live long enough if the death penalty stays with him all the way through his appeals."

The public defender said, just as the lead prosecutor did, that the attorney hours are not included in the estimate because they are salaried employees.
April 25, 2011 by Julie Montanaro

Gary Michael Hilton was sentenced to death April 21st and began serving that death sentence one day later.

He is now on death row at Florida State Prison.

Some questioned why the State Attorney pursued the death penalty in Florida given Hilton was already serving a life sentence in Georgia for the murder of hiker Meredith Emerson.

After Thursday's death sentence, State Attorney Willie Meggs called it an appropriate and necessary use of taxpayer money.

"You know, when you kill one person and you get life in prison and then everybody says "Oh, you're just wasting money, well, I can't ... I don't think murders should come cheaper by the dozen," Meggs said.

We are trying to tally the cost of Hilton's trial.

Lead prosecutor Georgia Cappleman says the state attorney's office spent approximately $8,000 to pay for deposition transcripts, expert testimony, a consultation with an entomologist as well as transportion and lodging for witnesses from Georgia.

That estimate does not include the cost of paying prosecutors for the hours they worked, Cappleman said, because they are salaried employees.

We are trying to reach the Public Defender for an estimate as well, but its bill is definitely higher.

We know that one of its expert witnesses was paid 9-thousand dollars for her testimony. Adina Schwartz, an expert in toolmark literature, testified to her costs on the stand during the trial.

We are also trying to estimate the cost of incarcerating Hilton in Florida.

A Spokesman with the Leon County Sheriff's Office says it costs $64.61 per day to house an inmate at the Leon County Jail, not including any medical costs. According to court records, Hilton spent 1050 days in the Leon County Jail while awaiting trial and sentencing. That's a total of $67,840.50

A Florida Department of Corrections Spokeswoman says there are too many variables to provide an estimate of the cost of housing Hilton on death row.

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  • by Cleatus Location: Austin on Apr 25, 2011 at 06:07 PM
    The cost was cheap because it bought us justice. Fools know the cost of everything but the value of nothing.
    • reply
      by HMA on Apr 26, 2011 at 12:40 AM in reply to Cleatus
      How can a sentence that will never be carried out be justice?
  • by HMA on Apr 25, 2011 at 06:00 PM
    Seems like a waste of taxpayer money to me. At least Ga. is saving some money while he is in Fl.
  • by Bullits are cheap ! Location: smoke land on Apr 25, 2011 at 02:05 PM
    about 50 cent and, Boom your gone !
  • by chris on Apr 25, 2011 at 01:05 PM
    do like the old days, take him out after the verdit and hang him, that would save taxpayers money for a real scum bag
  • by WoW! Location: In The Woods on Apr 25, 2011 at 09:03 AM
    I could have kept him at my house for s cool $30,000.00!!!!
  • by Robin Location: Thomasville on Apr 25, 2011 at 08:45 AM
    What did Cheryl Hodges LIFE COST her? For one, I thank God she was ready to go. Two, I have no doubt in my mind that she testified to him verbally and through her life. NO doubt at all. THIS will haunt him..............she did exactly what she was sent here to do on this earth and that was to give praise to her Father through ALL THINGS. ALL THINGS. I am so thankful that I spent many years with Cheryl as a friend. THIS man needs to pay for what he's done and I am so thankful that he is on death row. BUT I do pray that he somehow looks back on the whole ordeal and finds My Jesus, Cheryl's Jesus and his Lord and Savior.
    • reply
      by to Robin on Apr 25, 2011 at 09:45 AM in reply to Robin
      Lay off the cuckoo juice! Your father? Jesus? Savior? All things? What are you talking about? This stupid waste of cells murdered a woman who was enjoying our natural wonders, wonders created by the big bang and billions of years of evolution.
      • reply
        by GV on Apr 25, 2011 at 01:36 PM in reply to to Robin
        You are the one on the juice.Sounds to me like she has lost a very wonderful friend and you want to say something like that in a country where we still have the freedom of religion?You are one sick person.
    • reply
      by GV on Apr 25, 2011 at 10:00 AM in reply to Robin
      Wow,Robin.You are a very special person.
    • reply
      by Read the Bible... on Apr 25, 2011 at 10:54 AM in reply to Robin
      Matthew 5:38-42 1 Timothy 2:12
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Apr 25, 2011 at 11:04 AM in reply to Robin
      she is talking about forgivness, not too hard to figure that one out. Sounds like you are an atheist by the way you jumped on her and your evolution theory.
    • reply
      by Nancy on Apr 25, 2011 at 01:34 PM in reply to Robin
      Well said, Robin. Thank you for sharing. I was going to comment, "What did it cost? It cost my friend her life," but you said that and so much more that is valuable. I completely agree that he heard the word of God in the time he was with her and I've often prayed for the conviction of the Holy Spirit to bring it to life in his heart. Salvation through Jesus Christ is his only hope and I pray that he falls on His mercy and repents.
  • by 57 Nole Location: Tallahassee on Apr 25, 2011 at 08:36 AM
    Whatever the cost, it will SKYROCKET unless Hilton dies in a very short time frame. Incarceration, medical, and then there's the almost unlimited costs related to appeals...and you can be sure there will be several appeals when you factor in State and Federal. Salaried employee costs for both the the State Attorney and the Public Defender offices AND COURT PERSONNEL INCLUDING THE JUDGE MUST be counted as part of the costs since each of them could have been doing something constructive OR they were superfluous and should have been subject to staff reduction as are all state employees except the pea-brains elected to the Legislature .
    • reply
      by Natty Bumpo on Apr 25, 2011 at 10:54 AM in reply to 57 Nole
      State Attorney, Judge, Public Defender, and other personnel are salaried to do this. If Hilton had never been born they would be working on some other case. Their hourly costs should not be factored in. What should be factored is the cost of appelate work. As all appelate work in this case is unnecesary. Hilton is old enough that he will die before execution, so we will waste a ton of cash on appeals. Should have let him plea to life, since he will win on appeal. The confession used by the State was clearly a coerced confession given in Georgia under threat of execution if he did not spill the beans.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Apr 25, 2011 at 11:39 AM in reply to 57 Nole
      What is your alternative? Leave him in Georgia and run the risk of his Georgia conviction being overturned? Mr. Meggs is right on this particular situation. Murders should not come "cheaper by the dozen". Enforcing the laws and maintaining some semblance of order in society comes at a price. Unfortunately, we the working class get to pick up the tab. Ms. Dunlap's family and friends deserved their "day in court" as well.
      • reply
        by Natty Bumpo on Apr 25, 2011 at 01:43 PM in reply to
        Georgia conviction was a plea. No legal basis to overturn. Same thing is true in Florida, as Hilton would have pled to life her (he said as much in court). No appeal to that kind of plea. Obviously this guy deserves to die. But the current system takes so long to do that, that he is just going to die in prison and not be executed.
      • reply
        by AMEN on Apr 25, 2011 at 02:51 PM in reply to
        It doesn't matter what it cost. The lives that he took are worth more than dollars.
  • by DTH Location: Tallahassee on Apr 25, 2011 at 08:35 AM
    I think they need to review why things cost so much. I am GLAD that WM persued the Death Penalty. I think they should let Georgia House him until his Life Sentence is up, then bring him back here and give him the Injection 2 Days later.
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