Milam County: Commissioners Discuss Funds For Upcoming Capital Murder Trial

By: Brittany Semadeni Email
By: Brittany Semadeni Email

MILAM COUNTY (March 25, 2013)--Where the funds will come from was left unanswered Monday morning as Milam County Commissioners discussed the cost of an upcoming capital murder trial.

Brandon Charles Cotton, of Rockdale, is set to go on trial in October for the 2011 shotgun murder of retired Milam County nurse, Sandra Phillips, of San Gabriel, who was killed during a home invasion, and commissioners are struggling to pinpoint where the money will come from.

According to Milam County Judge Dave Barkemeyer, the cost of the trial could range from $1 million to several million dollars.

Barkemeyer says he is ready to finance $1 million, but anything beyond that will have to be borrowed and paid back.

Monday's meeting was more of a "pep talk" Barkemeyer said, to motivate county departments to be as efficient as possible with their finances.

Milam County is now a part of a coalition formed to help pay the cost of such trials, but the coalition was formed just after the murder occurred and funding won't be provided for Cotton's trial.

"In the future we won't have to fund it alone, but for this trial it is up to us to figure it out," Barkemeyer said.

To add to the urgency, Cotton's trial could be moved up to July.

Cotton was to have gone on trial in October 2012, but trial was delayed because his defense attorney was representing another capital murder defendant in Waco.

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