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Price of justice is often costly

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By The Staff

By DAMON LAWRENCE

dlawrence@roanecounty.com

Counties must provide certain services for jail inmates.

One of them is health care.

That’s why David Cosgriff was released from jail in 2008.

Covering his health care costs had become a financial burden on the county.

Cosgriff is now back in jail after having been found guilty of second-degree murder.

“The financial burden will fall on the county again,” Prosecutor Frank Harvey said.

Harvey convinced a jury that Cosgriff was responsible for the death of Kathleen Taylor, who went missing in 2002.

Harvey said her bones were later found on Mount Roosevelt near Rockwood.

Cosgriff’s defense attorney tried to raise doubts about the state’s case, but the jury didn’t buy it.

Jurors deliberated for less than three hours before returning the guilty verdict last Thursday.

Cosgriff, 66, had been staying at Miracle Lake, a Christian training center in Etowah, Tenn., while he was awaiting trial.

Prior to going there in 2008, officials with the Roane County Jail said it was costing the county about $1,100 a month to pay for his medication.

Officials also said Cosgriff had heart surgery, which the county paid for.      

“He has cost us quite a bit of money,” Roane County Sheriff Jack Stockton said.

Byron Goodman is the admissions director at Miracle Lake. Goodman said he helped Cosgriff get on Medicare when he was staying at the Christian facility.

Cosgriff couldn’t return to Miracle Lake after last week’s verdict, attorneys said, because the law requires someone convicted of second-degree murder to immediately be taken into custody.  

Cosgriff will be sentenced in Loudon County on Aug. 10.

“At his age and his health, even a low end sentence on second-degree is basically going to probably ensure that he stays in prison forever, until he’s no longer around,” defense attorney Bruce Poston said.

To try and limit the financial burden on the county, Harvey said officials may try to get the state to accept Cosgriff before his sentencing.

The Tennessee Department of Correction has a facility in Nashville for inmates with special needs.   

“He was there before,” Harvey said. “After a while they felt like he was better and they turned him back over to us, but because of the conviction now having been obtained, they may be more ready to take him back in.”