Moeller death sentence cost could pass $1 million - KOTA Territory News

Moeller death sentence cost could pass $1 million


Donald Moeller was set to be executed Tuesday night for the 1990 rape and murder of 9-year-old Becky O'Connel.

And because of lengthy and expensive appeals, his 20-year stay on death row has not been cheap.
All those counsel costs, court costs, witness fees, and investigation expenses really add up: When all is said and done, the state could be looking at a price tag of more than $1 million.

KOTA Territory News' sister station KSFY in Sioux Falls has been hard at work combing through the numbers.

The cost of keeping an inmate in the state penitentiary has shot up from $33 a day in 1993 to nearly $62 a day now, for a 20-year total of $336,000.

Then we work in costs to house Moeller at local facilities during appeals.

Lincoln County charged more than $486,000 to the state's Catastrophic Legal Expense Relief Program in the late '90s.

Pennington County tacked on another $2,000 for his second appeal.

All in all, Moeller's stay has cost the state of South Dakota $824,000.

And once you add in final execution costs, KSFY estimates the total cost will climb over the million-dollar mark.

By comparison, to house Moeller for 20 years on a life sentence without appeals would have cost the state far less.

Even at the $62 a day South Dakota pays now, the last 20 years would have totaled roughly $450,000.

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