Spokane, Wash.--Gail Gerlach’s defense wanted taxpayers to cover their $332,000 bill during a Friday court hearing, but the prosecution argued that the price was too high.
A jury ruled in April of 2014 that Gerlach acted in self-defense in the shooting death of Brendon Kaluza-Graham in March of 2013. Gerlach shot and killed Kaluza-Graham after he was believed to be breaking into Gerlach's car. Since the jury found Gerlach's use of force was justified, he was able to ask for legal costs to be reimbursed by the state of Washington.
Gerlach’s defense wanted taxpayers to pay for binders, highlighters, Febreze, bottled water and sticky notes along with other costs such as Gerlach’s three attorneys and expert witnesses. The defense added they wanted the $500 spent for diagrams to also be covered by taxpayers.
READ: Jury finds Gail Gerlach not guilty of manslaughter
“I'd suggest that's excessive,” said prosecutor Derec Martin.
To break down the $332,000 costs, lead defense attorney for the Gerlach case, Richard Lee, wanted $174,000. Co-counsel Dave Stevens wanted to rake in just shy of $110,000. Their bill stated that the expert testimony was $45,000. Martin raised an eyebrow at the justification for those charges.
“Mr. Stevens is billing the court 20 hours in travel time from Kosovo. That's unprecedented. Gerlach didn't have to hire someone who was stationed in Kosovo,” said Martin.
Records showed Stevens also wanted payment for his time traveling to Spokane from Sacramento.
The prosecution said the defense had not presented any evidence to support that the defense deserved top rate billing.