COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A truck driver sentenced to die for killing his boss and another man should receive life without parole instead because the cost of an execution would be an unnecessary burden for taxpayers, the inmate's attorney told the Ohio Supreme Court.
The argument came Tuesday as the court weighed the death sentence for Calvin Neyland Jr., convicted of fatally shooting the two men at Liberty Transportation outside Toledo in 2007 as he was about to be fired.
Supreme Court Justice Maureen O'Connor questioned the financial argument by attorney Spiros Cocoves, saying certain government actions are appropriate for the expense involved, according to The Blade (http://bit.ly/12nPJ2J).
"I don't understand how the expense issue becomes something that we need to take into consideration. Isn't that a policy decision for the legislature?" O'Connor said.
No definitive study has laid out the exact financial difference in Ohio between seeking a death sentence and choosing not to pursue a capital punishment case.
Death penalty trials are almost always more expensive because they require extra attorneys and investigators on both sides. And appeals costs in capital cases also add up.
The actual cost of an execution is minimal, usually a few hundred dollars for the lethal drug, the cost of transporting an inmate to the state death house in Lucasville and other relatively minor expenses.
Justices seemed more interested in whether Neyland was mentally ill.
"There are facts in this defendant's behavior leading up to the murders in question that, it would seem to me, would merit coming to our attention," said Justice Paul Pfeifer.
Neyland, 49, has been diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder, and an earlier court case referenced mental illness.
Prosecutors argue he functioned reasonably and had a mental condition, not mental illness.
Information from: The Blade, http://www.toledoblade.com/