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Latah, Kootenai counties enter agreement for defense attorney in Moscow murders case

Latah County will pay Kootenai County $200 per hour for the 40-hour work week. Any overtime worked will be paid by Latah County directly to the suspect's attorney.

MOSCOW, Idaho — The public defender representing the University of Idaho students' murder suspect will earn $200 per hour during her standard work week, according to an agreement KREM 2 obtained through a public record request with Kootenai County.

Kootenai and Latah County entered into an agreement regarding the defense attorney services for the suspect in the University of Idaho student murders. In that agreement, Latah County agreed to pay Kootenai County $200 per hour for the 40-hour work week. Any overtime worked outside those hours will be paid by Latah County directly to the attorney.

Anne Taylor is representing Bryan Kohberger, the 28-year-old man accused of killing four college students last November. Taylor was appointed to represent Kohberger shortly after he was extradited to Idaho from Pennsylvania.

The murders of the four University of Idaho students took place in Latah County. Taylor is a public defender in Kootenai County but is qualified to represent suspects in capital cases. Latah County does not have a public defender who is qualified to do so.

The "Capital Criminal Defense Provider Agreement" outlines several provisions, including how much Latah County will pay Taylor for her defense services. It also points to the likelihood of this murder case becoming a death penalty case.

According to the agreement, Latah County wanted to establish competent defense counsel to represent the suspect and a team of attorneys who are qualified in death penalty cases.

The agreement also details compensation for Taylor and her team. Latah County will pay Kootenai County $200 per hour during the standard 40-hour work week. If Taylor works any hours beyond that, Latah County will pay her $200 per hour directly.

That may sound like a lot, but KREM 2 asked local attorneys and they say that rate is on the lower end for this type of agreement.  

The second attorney working on this case will be paid $180 per hour during the standard 40-hour work week. This attorney's pay will follow the same protocol as Taylor's pay.

Latah County also agreed to reimburse the attorneys for mileage, lodging and meal costs. Additionally, Taylor's investigators will be compensated at a rate of $45 per hour.

Latah County Commissioners approved a draft of the agreement on Feb. 7, and Kootenai County approved the same agreement on Tuesday. However, The agreement went into effect on Dec. 30, 2022. 

On March 2, Taylor filed a motion to appoint an additional death qualified co-counsel to represent the suspect. Latah County Judge Megan Marshal approved that motion on March 7.

Mentions of death-qualified attorneys in the agreement are a big indication the Latah County Prosecutor may pursue the death penalty. And the cost to do this can add up quickly.  

However, Idaho has a voluntary capital crimes defense fund to ease the burden.

In order to access the fund, a county must meet certain criteria, one of which includes a county prosecutor must declare they will seek the death penalty no later than 30 days after the defendant enters a plea.

Kohberger is expected to enter his plea on June 26. This means the Latah County Prosecutor has until the end of July to officially pursue the death penalty.

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