Lovelace Case

Lovelace retrial costs top $35K

Prosecutor David Robinson, left, Judge Bob Hardwick and defense attorney Jon Loevy at the bench during a sidebar Monday, March 6, in Curtis Lovelace's retrial. Lovelace was found not guilty of first-degree murder. | H-W File Photo
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jun. 7, 2017 8:25 am Updated: Jun. 7, 2017 10:07 am

QUINCY — The retrial of Curtis Lovelace on one count of first-degree murder cost the Quincy Police Department and the Adams County circuit clerk's office a combined $35,793.

The Herald-Whig compiled invoices it received through Freedom of Information Act requests made to the Quincy Police Department, the Adams County state's attorney's office, the Adams County circuit clerk's office and the Illinois state's attorney appellate prosecutor's office.

A Sangamon County jury took a little more than two hours March 10 to find Lovelace not guilty in connection with the Feb. 14, 2006, death of his first wife, Cory, after a nine-day trial. The second trial was moved to Sangamon County from Adams County after a change of venue was approved.

The first trial, which ended in a mistrial in February 2016, had costs of more than $22,800. A majority of the cost of the retrial was related to medical experts who testified.

Michigan-based forensic pathologist Dr. Werner Spitz submitted a bill of $12,343 for his service. This included $6,600 to review autopsy and toxicology reports, scene and body photographs and opinion letters from five other pathologists; travel time to and from Springfield; and a pretrial conference. He charged $5,000 for one day of testimony, and airfare and lodging expenses added $743.

A $110 shuttle ride between St. Louis and Springfield provided by Bart Transportation for Spitz was billed separately.

Spitz, professor of pathology at Wayne State University's School of Medicine in Detroit with 64 years of experience, spent 5 1/2 hours on the witness stand during the trial.

Forensic pathologist Dr. Jane Turner, of Hamilton, Ontario, billed $10,175 at a rate of $4,400 per day for two days of testimony out of town and $1,375 to review the case. An additional $708 charge from the first trial that had not been forwarded to the city was also due.

Bloomington forensic pathologist Dr. Scott Denton submitted a bill of $1,800 for six hours of testimony during the trial.

Dr. Michael Baden, who testified for the prosecution during the first trial, was not called to testify during the second trial, but the New York-based forensic pathologist submitted a $3,400 bill for four hours of testimony preparation.

Quincy Police Chief Rob Copley said the department covered the bills with funds it had at the end of the fiscal year.

During the first trial, the department, the state's attorney's office and the state's attorney appellate prosecutor's office split expert witnesses costs. The appellate prosecutor's office said it did not have the funds for the second trial, and the state's attorney's office would have had to seek additional funds from the Adams County Board.

“The state's attorney general covers (expert witness costs), but when you get into high-dollar experts, there's usually a deal made ahead of time, which is where we were in the second trial,” Copley said. “When the second trial came along, we never really sat down and talked about it.”

Copley defended hiring expert witnesses in the case.

“Both sides have to get their experts to try and win, and those experts unfortunately cost money,” he said. “In some cases, you don't have much of this, but in a case like the Lovelace case, you do.”

For the trial itself, the county was billed $6,096 by Sangamon County. The itemized bill covered the 14 jurors for the nine-day trial, as well as one day of jury duty and mailings for the jury pool, additional courthouse security, some parking costs and the meal the jury received from Springfield restaurant Saputo's during deliberations.

The county also reimbursed Circuit Clerk Lori Geschwandner $1,160 for hotel, travel, meals and parking expenses. Geschwandner clerked the entire trial, and because she is a salaried employee, the office paid no overtime expenses.

Adams County does not have to pay for the time of special prosecutor Ed Parkinson because it pays an annual fee to the state's attorney appellate prosecutor's office to handle cases where there is a conflict of interest and appeals. The county will pay $24,000 this fiscal year for that service.

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