A trial with multiple defendants means there needs to be separate space for attorneys to meet with their clients, separate defense counsel tables and other accommodations that created a logistical challenge for court administration.
Even at a 60% discount offered by the college, the cost of reserving the conference center for three weeks comes to $25,440. According to an event order sheet, the typical weekday cost for the full conference center is $2,800 daily, and that goes to $3,600 daily on the weekend.
Because the trial period could run through the Fourth of July holiday, Stephenson said they opted to pay to control the space for the whole three weeks to eliminate the possibility of someone else wanting to rent during that time.
The issue was presented Monday, April 19, to the Hall County board of commissioners during the work session with a voting meeting set for Thursday, April 22.
The last day for a negotiated plea in the case is May 3. The trial will be held before Superior Court Judge Jason Deal.