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Hefty price tag for Jarred Harrell's life sentence

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Updated: 5/02/2013 5:02 pm
ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- When Jarred Harrell pleaded guilty to all charges on Friday he was able to save himself from death row. But at what cost to local taxpayers?

"Basically, me, the parents, everybody else is going to take care of him the rest of his life. There's no justice in that," one Orange Park man said.

Harrell received six life sentences related to Somer Thompson's kidnapping and murder. Two of those life sentences will be served consecutively. That means he will die in jail.

Locals we talked to wanted to know exactly what that will cost us.

"The state shouldn't take care of him for the rest of his life," another man said.

We took those questions to the department of corrections and we got some answers for you. If Harrell makes it to the average American life span of 75 years it will cost taxpayers $1.5 million in his lifetime, that's nearly $19,500 a year. 

Had Harrell gone to trial and received the death penalty taxpayers would still be stuck with the bill, but the average jail time for a death row inmate is much less. Only 12.9 years.

"It's over it's done. He waived all appeals, this is it," Sheriff Rick Beseler said.

With no appeals in the works, we know Somer's killer will be off the streets for good. And for some, that makes this pricey plea deal worth it.

"Our concern was to get justice for Somer, and we feel like we got fairly swift and fairly sured justice," State Attorney Angela Corey said. 

According to the Department of Corrections, there are nearly 101,000 inmates in Florida and nearly 400 on Death Row.
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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

Sammi9391 - 2/8/2012 12:25 AM
1 Vote
He should have been sentenced to DEATH he does not deserve to live a life of luxury in prison getting 3 square meals a day and time outside etc... our tax money goes to support him? Bring back the electric chair!!!

nativejax - 2/7/2012 5:20 PM
1 Vote
Well, paintpuppy, I WOULD be satisfied that he got life in prison if I KNEW he was being raped and tortured within an inch of his sorry life every day he of his sorry life.. But I still think the OLD WESTERN style of justice with one well placed bullet right between the eyes AFTER every convict is done with him would be REAL justice.

Paintpuppie - 2/7/2012 3:43 PM
0 Votes
This story lacks any credibility; clearly the author did not do any research into the costs of the death penalty. As the author of the first comment stated, the death penalty is WAY MORE EXPENSIVE than a life sentence, even if we the taxpayers have to feed and provide medical care for the rest of Harrell's life. Death penalty trials take longer, the juries cost more money (to find death-qualified jurors, house them, etc), the whole second phase of the trial to determine punishment, the automatic appeal and the lawyer provided for the appeal, the likely appeals after that, and consider that if one of those appeals is successful, we redo the whole darn trial again from the beginning. The death penalty is vindictive and only succeeds in wasting money. This dude is locked up for the rest of his life, we should be thankful, and thankful the families of everyone involved aren't burdened with emotional repercussions of a death penalty trial (which is a whole different issue I won't go into).

lawman11 - 2/7/2012 12:03 AM
0 Votes
Death Penalty cases cost taxpayers MUCH more than permanent imprisonment (life with NO possibility for parole). The much more expensive trial, the penalty phase (only happens in Death sentences and IF there is a conviction), the automatic appeals, the more expensive confinement on Death Row...all add up to the Death Penalty being a VERY bad deal for taxpayers like us. The Death Penalty is much harder on taxpayers who pay all these bills. The math is undeniable. Trying to kill prisoners costs more than locking them up.

DJHALL29 - 2/6/2012 8:23 PM
1 Vote
thats more than i get on disability
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