High cost of prosecuting Wyatt

Anthony Skeens, The Triplicate

Murder case may end up exceeding $200,000 mark

It could cost more than $200,000 to prosecute Jarrod Wyatt, accused of the murder of a friend in 2010.

Prosecution costs have been tabbed at about $160,500 so far, and that number could soar if a trial scheduled for September takes place.

The bulk of the money - $136,000 - has gone to a special prosecutor, Nico Mavris, for his work on the case over the past seven months.

He was hired to help District Attorney Jon Alexander handle the case.

The money initially comes from the county's coffers, but can be

recouped from the state after legislation was approved that awarded the

DA's Office $700,000 to handle the Wyatt case and two other murder cases

that threatened to drain the county's budget. The reimbursements will

only apply to extraordinary costs such as forensics specialists, experts

and a second prosecutor - Mavris.

The two other murder cases, now completed, used $146,000 of the money.

"When the homicides occurred I had gotten ahold of our advocates and

we started talking with some people at the state level about trying to

get some relief," said County Administrator Jay Sarina. "We've been

working off of that since the legislation has passed. It's a

considerable assistance to the county."

Wyatt, 27, a former mixed martial arts fighter, is accused of fatally

beating Taylor Powell, 21, of Crescent City, on March 21, 2010, in a

gruesome attack that involved mutilation.

Wyatt was found by authorities naked and covered in blood standing near Powell's body.

Wyatt told authorities at the time that he was under the influence of

hallucinogenic mushroom tea and he believed his friend was the devil.

He faces charges of murder with special circumstances of torture and

aggravated mayhem, using a deadly weapon while committing a felony,


mayhem and torture.

Mavris has been working to help Alexander prove Wyatt had the intent

of mayhem and torture, which are special allegations tacked onto the

murder charge that allow a sentence of life without parole for Wyatt if

convicted. The task is difficult due to the defense arguing the intent

to murder is diminished because Wyatt ingested drugs beforehand,

Alexander said.

He said Mavris has been a great asset hired at a discounted price.

Mavris is being paid $125 per hour, compared to $300-$400 an hour other

special prosecutors would demand, Alexander said.

"To find someone who would relocate on short notice to devote

themselves full time at $125 an hour, I can't stress enough the

fortuitious nature we have been able to retain Nico Mavris," said

Alexander. "He's done exemplary legal work for me."

Mavris was hired after several local attorneys who were qualified to

handle such a case -including his brother George Mavris - declined and a

retired attorney agreed, but later backed out, Alexander said.

"Nico Mavris has been an attorney in California since 1994," said

Alexander. "He has broad experience in legal research and motion work,

having maintained his own practice, as well as doing similar legal work

for other firms."

Mavris had his law license reactivated Nov. 16 - two weeks before he

began work on the Wyatt case - following almost a six-year period of


Mavris is also a restauranteur in Carmel, Calif.

"His periods of being 'inactive' belie his successful

restauranteurship and being a nationally known photographer, which

brings a breadth of life experience to a case in need of communicating

with various experts," said Alexander.

Mavris has been staying with his mother in Crescent City since

begining work on the case, which has eliminated room and board costs for

the county, Alexander said.

"We were extremely fortunate to retain someone with his talent and

ability," the DA said. "Any criticism of his retention is totally

unfounded and would have to be based upon either legal naievete or sheer


Reach Anthony Skeens at askeens@triplicate.com .

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