12/17/2014

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Culton's murder case racks up $50k jail tab, thousands in attorney fees

Culton's murder case racks up $50k jail tab, thousands in attorney fees

YAKIMA, Wash.  --  It all came down to witnesses and a lie detector test. That's what Yakima County prosecutors say cleared Tracy Culton's name and led them to drop triple-murder charges against her.

"It's hard to adjust to that because you figure someone commits a crime, they'll pay for it," said Goggin family friend Ray Vanderwall.
 
Investigators are now left with no suspects in the case from February 2011.

Click here to read the entire statement from prosecutors »

"We're continuing to pursue whatever leads come in," said Yakima County Sheriff's Department spokesperson Stu Graham.

Bill, Pauline and Bettye Goggin were found beaten to death in their West Valley home.

Investigators told KIMA back in October that if Culton was cleared the case would be closed. But, now say the plug won't be pulled.

"We're taking care of any inquires that were directed by the prosecutor's office," said Graham.

Which means more interviews.

"Is it someone you may have overlooked, someone originally interviewed?" KIMA asked.

"I can't talk about that." Graham said.

But, what can't be overlooked is the cost to Yakima County to hold Culton in jail for nearly two years.

KIMA pulled the numbers, and found Culton racked up a $50,000 jail tab, according to the Yakima County Department of Assigned Counsel.

Action News dug even deeper and found the county was charged more than $17,000 in attorney fees.

Kevin Harper's case, who was the first charged in the murders, cost the county more than $370,000. Those are all costs you paid for, to get back to square one.

"What do you say to the public and the friends of the Goggins who think investigators and prosecutors dropped the ball on this case?" KIMA asked.


"Well, I don't think that's the case," said Graham. "And, I wouldn't characterize the results at this point in time as having dropped the ball."

Two years, two murder suspects. Zero convictions.

"Well, somebody's getting away with murder," said Vanderwall.

A triple murder case that investigators insist has not gone cold.

Culton's attorney fees are not final. Court authorities say there are still two months of bills to calculate.

The numbers do not take include money and resources spent by both prosecutors and sheriff's deputies.

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