Venue change would double jury expense

Milam County officials aren’t saying it so many words, but they may be keeping their fingers crossed that next month’s death penalty capital murder trial won’t move to another county if a change of venue should be asked and granted.

The county has allocated what’s estimated to be $952,000 to cover costs of the Brandon Cotton trial which is scheduled to start Dec. 2 in 20th District Court. Jury selection has begun.

But in Tuesday’s county commissioners court session Precinct 2 Commissioner Kenneth Hollas asked County Judge Dave Barkemeyer what would happen if the trial is moved to another county.

Barkemeyer said the cost of jury selection is estimated to be $100,000 to $200,000 and if the selection process has to start over in another county the cost would be doubled and what’s been spent would be “down the tubes.”

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2013-11-14 digital edition

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