PRESCOTT - A Superior Court judge on Tuesday said she was "not comfortable" finding that Kenneth Thompson, accused in a double murder case, is indigent and needs court-appointed experts for his defense.
Thompson, 28, of Doniphan, Mo., was arrested in connection with the deaths of Penelope Edwards, 35, and Troy Dunn, 38, of Prescott Valley. They were found dead in a burned-out home in the 4000 block of North Tonopah Drive on March 16, 2012.
Both victims sustained head trauma, and their deaths were ruled homicides, said Prescott Valley Police Sgt. Brandon Bonney.
Thompson is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of misconduct involving weapons, and one count each of arson, burglary, criminal damage, and tampering with physical evidence.
He originally had a public defender because, when arrested, he filed a sworn affidavit saying he was indigent, with virtually no assets or cash.
But in a hearing last year, Judge Celé Hancock said she believed he had access to at least $400,000, primarily through an inheritance.
Thompson then hired attorney Stephen Glazer, and, because death penalty cases require a second-chair lawyer, he also retained John Napper.
Hancock has been skeptical about Thompson's claim that he doesn't have the money necessary, noting that the defense wanted funding to pay for the various experts it would need for trial, but not the attorneys themselves.
Tuesday, she said that after looking over material Glazer submitted in response to her request, she was still very concerned about where money from the inheritance has gone.
Glazer asked for an evidentiary hearing to settle the matter, and Hancock agreed.
Deputy County Attorney Steve Young was concerned about the delay. "This case is kind of in a holding pattern" until the issue is resolved, he said.
Hancock had no room on her calendar until February 2014.
"I am hopeful that at this time we can set this issue to rest," she said.
Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Article comment by:
If we were truly considered innocent until proven guilty
the state would provide for any accused's vigorous defense, funded at a level at least equal to that of any prosecution.
But we're not.
Posted: Monday, November 18, 2013
Article comment by:
Why shouldn't he receive public defense? It seems patently unfair to say that some receive public assistance but not others. If we are to say that a public defender may be funded in some cases, then why not all? If he is found not guilty then the expense of defending himself will not be recuperated and the money from his inheritance will only line the pockets of lawyers and experts. Giddeon was decided too narrowly on economics, the more appropriate ruling would be to either fund all defense counsel or none, not just defense counsel for those who are poor when they are accused.