Defense of accused child killer cost taxpayers millionsPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX -- It was a heartrending murder case from the beginning. But in the end, it cost Maricopa County taxpayers millions of dollars. The question is, did it have to?
Jeffrey Martinson was accused of killing his five-year-old son, Josh Martinson.
Now, Jeffrey Martinson's attorney is defending what he was paid. An amount that some say was incredible. Money that came from taxpayers.
"My emotions well up at the thought of this little boy dying," said defense attorney Michael Terribile.
Court delay after court delay meant Martinson spent 9 years in jail and the taxpayers of Maricopa County were charged $3.6 million.
To put that into perspective,it was more than other high profile cases like Jodi Arias and serial killer Mark Goudeau.
One of the recipients of that Martinson money, defense attorney Michael Terribile. "If people really knew what these cases cost, there would be some limit," said Terribile.
Terribile defends his paycheck because of the job he said he did defending Martinson.
"My only thought was I'm going to be fair to myself and I don't want to be criticized for taking advantage of the situation," said Terribile. "I'm amazed that I have to defend that. I'm speechless."
County Attorney Bill Montgomery says the case should never have cost taxpayers millions. He blames the court.
"I can tell you maintaining the capital rate after we re-indicted and dropped the death penalty, that doesn't make any sense to me," said Montgomery.
Montgomery is referring to Judge Sally Duncan's ruling that allowed Terribile and his co-counsel to continue getting paid $300 an hour. The capital rate even though the second trial, Martinson was no longer facing the death penalty.
"That's something that should have been taken into account because the four million people I represent, their taxpayer dollars were going into that," said Montgomery.
"Mr Montgomery has an obligation to the taxpayers, I don't have an obligation to the taxpayers," said Terribile.
"It was never understood that if we were successful in doing what we were hired to do that our rate of compensation would change. This is what I do for a living, I don't think I have to justify that to anyone," said Terribile.