The Henderson County Commissioners Court on Tuesday approved estimated budgets for two capital murder cases expected to come to trial in 2008.

According to information from County Auditor Ann Marie Lee’s office, the estimated cost of trying the Edward Ray Smalley and Michael Lyndon Whitman cases is $353,000. Smalley is accused of a September 2007 murder in Athens, while Whitman is accused of the October 2007 death of a two-year-old Tool child.

The budgets included $200,000 for court-appointed attorneys and $155,000 for the District Attorney’s Office.

“Today, we’re not doing anything but agreeing with these numbers (estimates). Next week, we’ll do an emergency declaration and a budget amendment,” County Judge David Holstein said.

The item, which had been discussed at two previous meetings, appeared on the agenda again after commissioners learned that failure to budget the money might cost the county a chance at a County Essential Services Program (CESP) grant. That program sets aside funds to reimburse counties that try capital murder cases.

“I still don’t like the idea, but if it means we might not get any help, I don’t want to vote against it,” Pct. 4 Commissioner Jerry West said.

In September 2007, the county submitted an application for CESP funds to aid in the prosecution and trial of Randall Mays, accused of killing two Henderson County Sheriff’s Department officers in May. The county is awaiting word on the results of the request, Lee said.

Commissioners also approved a $30,000 Athens Economic Development Corporation grant to OTE International Holdings located at the former Jones Airport just south of Athens. Because the facility is outside city limits, the grant required county approval, AEDC Executive Director Herb Gatlin said.

Thermo-electric coolers designed in Athens have been produced for the company in China, then distributed from the OTE warehouse here. The company plans to relocate its assembly and manufacturing to Athens, Gatlin said. The $30,000 will held OTE equip its research and development laboratory.

In other action, commissioners approved:

• a request from District Clerk Becky Hanks for the purchase of lateral file cabinets to be paid for from records management funds;

• a redesigned plaque for the new portion of the Henderson County Justice Center;

• setting a 35 mile-per-hour speed limit on County Roads 3612, 3613, 3614, 3615, 3620, 3621 and 3622;

• paid 2007 bills in the amount of $60,540.06; and

• paid 2008 bills in the amount of $1,112,169.27, of which $692,000 was for budgeted expenses incurred in the jail expansion project.

Trending Video

Recommended for you