David Middleton signed letter envelope with art set

David Middleton signed letter envelope with art set


After a trial and an estimated $400,000 in defense costs, ex-Miami cop David Middleton is on Nevada's death row for the murder of 2 women, and unless he wins a new trial or sentencing hearing on he will not be a defendant again in Washoe County.

Focus now shifts to Colorado, where the parents of a teenager Middleton is suspectd of killing in 1993 have moved ahead with plans to sue the police department.  The investigation into Buffy Rice Donohue's death continues, but the district attorney will not comment on the chances of charges being filed against Middleton there.

Middleton was found guilty in September, in Reno, Nev., of the murders of Katherine Powell of Reno, an elementary school teacher, and Thelma Davila of Sparks, an employee at Circus Circus.

Middleton kidnapped Powell from her home in Feb. 1995 and about a week later put her dead body in a trash bin near Virginia Lake.

Davila disappeared from her Sparks apartment in August 1994 and was found in April 1995.

The Washoe County Comptroller's Office reported that the county paid $292,005.90 to the 2 court-appointed lawyers who represented Middleton at trial, but that does not include the time and money the Washoe County Public Defender's Office spent before it was removed from the Middleton case because of a conflict of interest.

Public defender Mike Specchio said his office had only $5,000 in out-of-pocket expenses, but he added that his staff put an estimated  3,500 hours into the case before it was removed.  Specchio estimated that was about $105,000 in salaries.

Assistant District Attorney John Helzler could trace $46,000 in overtime costs, laboratory costs and expert-witness fees to the Middleton trial; that does not include regualr staff salaries.

And the county also spent $12,804 in juror fees for prospective jurors and the jurors actually selected, plus $450 for 3 meals for the jury while they deliberated.

That puts the price for justice--at least those costs that could be determined--at $461,260.

Jeff Powell, brother of the slain elementary school teacher, is a Southern California architect, and he traveled to Reno frequently before Middleton went on trial and stayed there through the trial; the trial postponements and the trial cost him customers.

Powell added that "it will be years before I recover from this.  At the moment, I am treading water with my head just above the surface.  I am in massive debt.  I am getting just enough to make monthly payments...It will be a long time before I get back to where I was.  But at least David Middleton is in prison and will stay there."

The letter and envelope are both handwritten. There is a drawing on the envelope. The letter is signed, D.

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