CLEVELAND - A key defense witness in the trial of convicted serial killer Anthony Sowell billed taxpayers thousands of dollars for expensive hotel rooms, flight upgrades and room service.
Dr. Dale Watson, a neuropsychologist, also billed taxpayers $2,190 in travel time for his round-trip flight from California to Cleveland, just to sit on a plane.
On another flight, he upgraded his airline ticket to "business select" for a total of $933. And while in Cleveland, Dr. Watson stayed at one of the city's more expensive hotels: A room costing $333 a night, tax included.
According to records submitted to Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court officials, Dr. Watson also billed taxpayers for room service totaling another $120.
Dr. Watson was an expert witness hired by Sowell's defense attorneys to help explain to the jury why Sowell should not be executed for murdering 11 women.
So far, Dr. Watson has billed taxpayers $28,000 for his expert services.
Another expert witness, Dr. George Woods, upgraded most of his round-trip flights to first class from California to Cleveland. It's a move totaling $746.
Dr. Woods charged taxpayers $350 an hour and so far has collected $24,000.
One of Sowell’s defense attorneys, Rufus Sims, responded to the high cost by saying all reasonable expenses were approved by the court. Sims said his client agreed to plead guilty if the death penalty would have been taken off the table, which would have eliminated the need for mitigation witnesses.
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