FULTON COUNTY, OH (WTOL) - James Worley could be sentenced to death or life in prison for the murder of 20-year-old Sierah Joughin. While justice should be served, the cost to tax-payers could be significant.
"It's astronomical," Toledo defense attorney Adrian Cimerman said.
Cimerman, who is not Worley's attorney, has represented 50 death penalty cases in his 30 year career.
According to the advocacy group Ohioans to Stop Executions, it costs state taxpayers up to $3 million to execute an inmate. But to hold the inmate in prison for life is less than half that.
"There's some who say it's cheaper to house somebody for life than it is to kill them," Cimerman said.
There are 139 inmates on death row in our state, according to the Ohio department of Rehabilitation and Correction - 137 men and 1 woman.
But the Ohio Public Defenders office says death penalty indictments d ropped 77 percent in 2010 from 81 to just 19 this year.
"There's automatic appeals, so you've got court reporters transcripts, appellate attorneys, appellate judges... it just goes on and on," Cimerman said referring to the mounting costs in death penalty cases.
But even if Worley is convicted, Cimerman says it could be decades before he's actually put to death if at all.
Out of all Cimerman's 50 death case only one of his clients was ever executed.
"I would guess that the average time between imposition of the death penalty and that execution actually being carried out is probably about twenty years," Cimerman said.
A Fulton County grand jury indicted James Worley on 19 counts including abduction and aggravated murder in the death of former University of Toledo student Sierah Joughin. Worley is due back in court on Friday, August 19.