Expert witness fees at issue in Bountiful murder case

Oct 3 2013 - 2:40pm

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FARMINGTON -- A judge may have to order the state Indigent Capital Defense Fund to pay for an expert witness and to pay an appeals attorney more money to continue with a case.

David Edward Drommond, Jr., 37, appeared before Judge Robert Dale in 2nd District Court on Thursday. He is serving a life sentence without parole at the Utah State Prison for aggravated murder in connection with the 2005 death of his ex-wife, Janeil Bradley.

His attorney, Scott Wiggins, said he has filed two motions asking the judge to order the state to pay an expert witness and to continue to pay him.

He said in court that the board considers the funds for an expert witness to be "extraordinary."

Dale set Nov. 7 for a hearing in case the state files a motion to oppose the requests.

Deputy Davis County Attorney Bill McGuire said after Thursday's hearing, "There's a potential they may oppose the additional funding."

Davis County is one of several counties in the state that contributes annually to the state Indigent Capital Defense Fund. The board that oversees the trust fund pays only the defense costs and expenses, not the prosecution costs and expenses of murder cases.

It also pays for all appeals for the murder cases.

The county joined it in 1997 as a type of insurance.

In 1996, the county paid $300,000 for legal services on two high-profile homicide case -- the murder of Jill Allen and the murder of Motel 6 clerk John Whicker -- according to news stories. At that time, the county was not part of the Capital Indigent Fund.

Wiggins wants to hire an expert witness and an investigator to look at whether or not Effexor, an antidepressant Drommond was taking in 2005, may have contributed to his manic episode and led to him killing Janeil Bradley.

The Utah Supreme Court remanded the case back to the district court in July asking the judge to make a ruling on two issues, according to court documents. The first one is on whether Drommond suffered any adverse effects from Effexor, a prescription medication he was taking for a bipolar disorder. The second issue is to determine if his trial attorney provided "ineffective counsel" when he did not "investigate and present expert testimony regarding the possible effects of Effexor" on Drommond's bipolar disorder.

The state supreme court justices heard arguments in April concerning Drommond's mental illnesses. Wiggins said at the April hearing the jurors who decided that Drommond should spend the rest of his life in prison should have heard about Effexor.

Drommond shot Bradley when she dropped off their two children, ages 2 and 3 at the time, for a court-ordered visitation Aug. 28, 2005. Her father, Reid Bradley, also was shot.

Drommond pleaded guilty to aggravated murder Dec. 17, 2007, after prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty. In 2008, a 12-member jury said Drommond should serve life without parole.

Contact reporter Loretta Park at 801-625-4252 or lpark@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter @LorettaParkSE.

 

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