Sunday, June 02, 2002

Byrd cost Ohio $786K to prosecute

Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — It cost more than $786,000 to imprison, prosecute and eventually execute John W. Byrd Jr., state records show.

        Mr. Byrd, 38, was executed Feb. 19 for killing Cincinnati-area convenience-store clerk Monte Tewksbury on April 17, 1983.

        The Columbus Dispatch said Saturday it had obtained figures from the state showing that it cost at least $534,051 to defend Mr. Byrd, $64,084 to prosecute him and $6,660 to execute him. It cost an additional $182,000 to imprison Mr. Byrd since 1991, the earliest year such figures were available.

        The costliest capital-punishment case in recent years involved Cleveland killer Wilford Berry, nicknamed “the Volunteer” because he waived his legal appeals. The attorney general's office spent about $900,000 to argue for Berry's execution, which took place Feb. 19, 1999, and was the first execution in Ohio in 36 years.

        Three more executions have followed, including Byrd's.

        It currently costs an average of $22,045 annually to imprison a death row inmate, said Andrea Dean, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.


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