CROWN POINT | Defense costs of the Kevin Isom death penalty trial through mid-December show a slight increase from September, with a full accounting not expected until sometime in May.
According to figures released by the Indiana Public Defenders Commission this week, total defense costs are shown at $414,701, up from the previous accounting of $379,356, with the county reimbursed a total $207,350.
The bulk of the costs includes $240,603 for attorney fees and $125,193 for mitigation specialists.
The county is reimbursed through the Public Defenders Commission at a 50 percent rate for capital cases versus 40 percent for noncapital cases.
The current total costs surpass those of the county's last capital case by only $2,794, but do not represent defense costs incurred during the five-week trial beginning Jan. 7 and may not represent the full cost of the second round of jury selection ending Dec. 18.
Isom, 47, was found guilty Feb. 5 of killing his wife, Cassandra Isom, 40, and stepchildren, Michael Moore, 16, and Ci'Andria Cole, 13, on Aug. 6, 2007, in the family's home in the Miller area of Gary.
Jurors also found Isom guilty on three counts of criminal recklessness for shooting at responding officers during a standoff with police.
Three days later, jurors sentenced Isom to death.
Proceedings initially were prolonged by a second round of jury selection — the first ended in a mistrial — and the necessity of the appointment of the Lake Count public defender's office after the death of Isom's privately hired attorney, Nick Thiros, and Isom's depleted finances.
Fearing capital costs incurred by the county might top $500,000, the Lake County Council approved additional funds, capping costs at $750,000.
Final defense costs in the Isom trial are under review by Herbert Shaps, one of Isom's two public defenders, and may not be available until May, according to the Lake County public defender's office.
The Public Defenders Commission next meets in June to consider further reimbursement of remaining bills.
In the meantime, Lake County Criminal Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak, senior judge of Lake Superior Court and the presiding judge on the Isom trial, reported $80,000 in hotel/food expenses for the 12 jurors and four alternates with an additional $22,000 spent on cafeteria and take-out meals.