Levi King Costs Gray County Near $1 Million

Judge Richard Peet
Judge Richard Peet

by: Kristen Guilfoos
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - The Levi King capital murder trial is becoming more expensive by the minute.

Early reports estimated the entire Levi King capital murder trial totaled near $750,000.

We spoke with the Gray County Judge on Monday who says they now know that's just the defense team expenses... Add in the prosecution's tab and we're looking at close to one million dollars.

That's more than 10% of Gray County's yearly budget. The county has been planning for this trial practically since King murdered the Conrad-Doan family in their Pampa farmhouse back in 2005.

Judge Richard Peet says, "Last year we set aside something like two or three hundred thousand dollars. This year had budgeted again somewhere in the neighborhood of $300,000, just trying to anticipate that cost."

But they say they never it anticipated it would be so expensive, so even with all of their planning, they still fall short.

The defense team was court-appointed, so Gray County is required to cover their expenses, including witness transportation and housing, along with attorney fees.

The bulk of those fees occurred during the sentencing phase of king's trial... After he pleaded guilty and the prosecution decided to move forward with seeking the death penalty.

The county says they're having to make some budgetary adjustments to pay for the trial. They are cutting back on large purchases this year and they are not giving county employees raises either. Judge Peet says, thought, they will not raise taxes to pay for this.

The jury in this case decided to forgo the death penalty and instead sentence King to life in prison without parole... the same sentence he was already serving for two murders in Missouri.