Texas prosecutors defend King trial costs

AMARILLO, Texas (AP) - West Texas prosecutors are defending the nearly $750,000 price tag for public defenders in the capital murder trial of a man already serving a life sentence in Missouri.

Levi King pleaded guilty last month and got another life sentence for the 2005 slayings of Brian Conrad, 31, his pregnant wife, Michell Conrad, 35, and her son, Zach Doan, 14. They were killed in their rural farmhouse south of Pampa.

The costs at taxpayer expense - all in the punishment phase - total about 10% of the Gray County budget.

But District Attorney Lynn Switzer said in a statement Monday that it was important to try King because relatives have the right "to confront the person who brutally murdered their loved ones while they slept."

Information from: Amarillo Globe-News, http://www.amarillo.com