Frein Keeps Costing Taxpayers Big Money

MILFORD -- Eric Frein might be sitting on death row in western Pennsylvania, but how much it will cost Pike County for the cop killer's trial keeps going up and up.

It cost $11 million to hunt down Frein in the Poconos in 2014.

His court-appointed attorneys have been paid almost $250,000 in the past two years, according to court documents.

A death penalty phase expert who didn't even testify was paid nearly six figures.

A month in hotel rooms plus meals for the jury from Chester County cost roughly $70,000.

All that adds up to an additional grand total of nearly half a million dollars.

"If it was absolutely necessary, I could agree with it. They could have done it a little more reasonable and had same results," said James Salber of Dingmans Ferry.

Pike County leaders are still expecting to pay even more in the coming weeks and months. Frein's defense bills haven't been submitted yet for the entire months of April and May and the appeals process is yet to begin.

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"There's probably more to come. It's looking $450,000. That's a number that could repair a bridge in Pike County," said Commissioner Matt Osterberg, (R) Pike County.

For his part, Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin says his office spent slightly more than $40,000 on overtime, experts, and office supplies.

"As you can see, there is also a financial cost that is being borne by taxpayers, but necessary costs to get full justice in this case," Tonkin said.

A closer look and court papers show Frein's attorney, Bill Ruzzo of Luzerne County, stayed at the upscale "Hotel Fauchere" during the trial on the taxpayer dime.

"That's an expensive place to stay," added Salber.

"It could be over a million by the time things trickle in and the final tab is tallied. It's just terrible," said John Kupillas of Dingman Township.

Frein's attorney Michael Weinstein chose not to speak on camera but says he's been doing what's in the best interest of his client all along.

Weinstein plans to file an appeal soon which would keep that cost going up.

Pike County commissioners raised taxes, in part, to pay for the trial and put aside only $250,000 -- half the total so far.

30 comments

  • Vaughan

    I agree with most about the large amount of money that was spent on this, but there will be no shortage of ways that elected officials will justify the cost and use it to get even more money for future budgets. The bigger picture is, the millions it will cost for him to be on death row for the next however many years. George Banks as mentioned below, has been on death row since 1983. PA hasn’t executed an inmate since 1999, only 3 since 1976 and on top of that Gov. Tom Wolf has suspended the death penalty in this state. So basically, Frein will cost millions more and there’s actually no end in sight. He’s one of about 190 inmates that have been on death row in this state, some for up to 30 years.

    • Infernal Optimist

      I looked on the day Frein was convicted. There were 432 on death row, if I remember correctly. Add one now.

      • Infernal Optimist

        I retract that count. There are 171 inmates + Frein now according to Corrections. Some folks have multiple death sentences, which raises the overall count when you look at it that way. Sorry. Still, it’s a lot of people.

  • Infernal Optimist

    Frein should look to Aaron Hernandez for inspiration. Man-up Eric and do the right thing.

  • keystone cops

    Knock the cobwebs off and fire up that PSP T-Shirt making machine and sell some more shirts. That should offset some of the costs for the taxpayers of Pennsylvania that had this trial shoved down their throat, not to mention the cost of the fumbled search. Thank God the Marshals brought it to an end.

  • john williams

    Everyone seems to have forgotten about the million dollar party the PSP threw for themselves for all involved in the search, and they all show up wearing shirts that says “Brothers before Others” so that tells you how much they value they place on the citizen.

  • RicU.

    B.O.B.H.I.C.A.
    If anyone thinks this is close to the real cost. Think again. You haven’t seen anything yet.
    **Wait for the cost of the appeal process for 12-15 years at $275,000 annual PLUS INFLATION.
    **The probable retrial as this was so designed to keep the exposed costs down.
    **How about the $22,000 to the guy who found the car the PSP said they couldn’t?
    **Damages to the economy, education and business during the search are not listed.
    **Damage to resale values in the Poconos as the taxes will strangle affordability.
    **Additional “hidden costs.

    GOVERNOR WOLF, in February said he would stay all capital executions which usually leads to commutation. But the D.A. got his name plastered all over going over for a death penalty which is probably NEVER be used.

      • Fredric

        Arlene,

        You don’t know Law.

        The D. A. MAY seek the death penalty. Or, he MAY NOT. He choose to seek it for personal reasons.

        The Governor has the final decision on implementing the verdict. He can stay, for any length of time, AND commute and pardon. Governor ‘s choice.

    • Lance

      Again taxpayers footing the bill. Why was it necessary for freins attorney to stay the the fouchere? What is wrong with tje best western just up the road instead of costing taxpayers more than $300 @ night!!!!. Go after the people like that who abuse the system. The marshal who caught him could have saves us all from hundred of thousands of dollars. A simple 75 cent bullet!!!!

  • Manly Chesterson

    Too bad it aint like the way way old days out west, just take him out behind the court house and shoot him. Problem solved. Overall cost? About a quarter at the time give or take a dime depending on the caliber round used to get the job done. Life continued, issue resolved, public happy. Too easy.

  • Karen Rice

    Why couldn’t the defense attorney stay at a less expensive motel? Good question but in actuality the hotel expense was probably the least expensive cost involved in this whole thing. It is a shame he was given the death penalty because we know he will never be executed, and taxpayers will just pay more and more and more for all of his appeals, motions, hearings, etc. He should have been given life imprisonment, restricted to solitary confinement, with no chance of parole, ever. But hey! He got the death penalty!!! *roll eyes* – just another way to say “Bend over, taxpayers! You’re gonna get hit again and again…and again….” He will join the ranks of George Banks, Joseph Alesio, Michael Conforti…just sit there on the taxpayer’s dime racking up more billing hours for the attorneys

  • Mike Sutton

    So we r complaining what it costs to prosecute someone that took a mans life & nearly took another. Dickson was a father.. a husband .. a son.. a friend. U people r all disgusting that r complaining.

    • whatever831

      Disgusting that their complaining? He got prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law? And what do regular people get a quarter of the law? its an issue when regular people aren’t found with an expense of 11 MILLION dollars plus… money is the issue here.

    • Supporter of America

      No one is stating anything that he is “not guilty.” HOw many people are killed every year by someone, that are fathers, husbands, etc? Does the State spend 11 million plus bringing their killer to justice?? Certainly not, so why is a cops life worth so much more? And nothing personal meant against cops and most do a great job, but why is their life any more important than the rest of us…when we already know Frien is guilty? That is the complaint!! When is the last time the State spent 11 million looking for someone’s killer that was a just a normal hardworking American. I’m a father, husband, my parent’s child, and I work hard, but if someone killed me the State would never spend that to find the killer; nor would they waste so much on a trial for someone that they know did the crime. Put a bullet in him and lets move on…total savings to the State 11 million plus. But wait PA doesn’t have money to spend on schools, the environment, public services such a fire and police…

  • Pitbull

    And how much does it cost to keep him on death row and how long will he be there. More tax money has been spent on him than is ever spent on victims.

  • arlene

    James Salbar has what background? His comment is ridiculous. Why quote people who have no knowledge of the system? Thats like saying the station spends too much money on the news, could be done differently.
    And who is auditing the defense lawyers fees and why so much money?
    Ruzzo should have to pay back all monies at the luxury hotel he chose.
    After all this we need a Governor who will enforce the death penalty.

  • seen it all

    This is bull, It’s not what it costs it is what our corrupt system distributes to dirty lawyers and cops , The billings are artificially enhanced , just as bogus charges aren’t dropped and all procedures strung out to bill PA the most they can get – a system in total failure . Now if one good cop used one good bullet with good aim , All would’ve been good .

    • John Doe

      So…you support the freedom of terrorists? In that case, and this is just a personal belief, anyone who supports terrorism should be treated as a terrorist.

Comments are closed.