George Huguely's Estimated Defense Bill - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

George Huguely's Estimated Defense Bill

Posted: Updated: Dec 6, 2011 05:04 PM EST

There are two months until George Huguely's trial gets underway.  In the lead up to the court date NBC29 asked, what it would cost to defend a person in a high profile murder case?

Lloyd Snook, a prominent criminal defense attorney in Charlottesville, said the total will likely top $350,000 due to the number of hours spent on the case from the beginning, and what and who will be used during the actual trial.

Leaving no stone unturned, Huguely's defense team has been working around the clock on the first degree murder case.  "Here we're looking at more time at a higher hourly rate," said Snook.

While Snook isn't affiliated with the case, he's been practicing criminal law in Charlottesville since 1979, and says the bill to defend Huguely will be expensive.

Snook stated, "I'd be surprised if $350,000 covered the ball park in this case because they've got two very good, very experienced lawyers."

Take a defense motion concerning excerpts of Huguely's statement to police.  Snook says the time involved in the filing should cost about $500, but in the Huguely case that same filing likely ran between $3,000 and $5,000. 

"Most of the time we make sort of an oral motion and it all comes in.  Here they've litigated it ahead of time with lengthy memos with lengthy research," Snook stated.

That's a drop in the bucket compared to other costs.  A jury selection expert could run $50,000.

Snook said, "They will look through everything that comes back on the jury questionnaires and will look at them and say here a sort of a profile of a person."

A medical expert could top $100,000.  An arsenal of resources used to make the jury pick something other than first degree murder.

"The differences have to do with George Huguely's state of mind.  They have to do with how much he was premeditating, was there a specific reason why these things were happening," said Snook.

Aside from a first degree murder conviction, the jury could pick second degree murder, manslaughter, voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter.

Snook says there is no way Huguely will get off the hook - but a key piece of evidence will be Huguely's statement to police the morning after Yeardley Love's death, where he doesn't appear to know that Love is dead until police tell him.

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