Trial costs for man accused of killing Southport police officer could skyrocket

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The man charged with shooting and killing Southport Lt. Aaron Allan is scheduled to head to court next month.

Jason Brown is charged with murder. Right now, his attorney is arguing with prosecutors about whether to move the trial to a different city. Brown’s attorney claims he cannot get a fair and unbiased trial, whereas the state says there is not enough proof that is the case.

Once a venue is set, the court will need to find a jury. Criminal defense attorney Jack Crawford says that could be challenge number one.

“Question number one: do you know anything about this case? Question number two: if you know anything, have you formed an opinion as to the guilt or innocence?” Crawford explained.

Crawford is not involved with this high-profile case but gave CBS4 some perspective. He said it’s possible the court will perform a mock jury to see who they can pool. The state did something similar in the past.

Crawford thinks Brown’s trial will likely cost upward of $250,000. Most of that, about $100,000, will go to the attorney. Crawford said if the trial is moved to a different venue, taxpayers will end up paying for everyone’s transportation, lodging and daily court costs as well.

The cost of the trial increases exponentially if the prosecutor pushes for the death penalty.

“A million dollars,” Crawford explained.

He said some of the expense will go toward expert testimony and the jurors will make $30 per day.

Not only will taxpayers shell out for the trial, but it will cost at least $58 per day to house Brown in Indiana Department of Corrections’ facility. They couldn’t disclose how much it would cost to house him in general population versus on death row.

Crawford went on to say he thinks the state will have a difficult time proving Brown’s guilt to a murder charge.

“He doesn’t have a lengthy criminal record, there wasn’t a warrant for his arrest, so the motive for him doing this is unknown and that’s a problem in a murder case,” he said. "Juries want to know in a murder case why a defendant did it.”