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Murder cases increase costs for coroner’s office

August 25, 2012
By ARTHUR CLEVELAND , The Leader Herald

FONDA - The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors will vote Tuesday on approving the transfer of funds to cover expenses in the county coroner's budget, caused by unforeseen expenses, which includes two murder cases.

Passed through the Montgomery County Finance Committee Tuesday to the board, the coroner's office will receive an extra $10,000 from the fund balance to help pay off outstanding fees caused by the autopsies.

Shawn Bowerman, Montgomery County Treasurer, said the original budget of $25,000 was spent due to the autopsies of the victims of two separate murder cases.

In March, William McDermott, 56, and Cheryl Goss, 46, were found dead from stab wounds in an apartment in Amsterdam. District Attorney James Conboy said the case is still under investigation.

In July, Jonathan DeJesus, 13, and Paul Damphier, 16, were found dead from gunshot wounds in a field off of Snooks Corners Road in the town of Florida. Authorities later charged Matt Phelps, 15, and Anthony Brasmiester, 16, in those deaths.

According to Bowerman, autopsies are contracted out and are handled locally at St. Mary's Hospital in Amsterdam. With a cost around $1,000 for the basic autopsy alone, Boerman said, high-profile cases demand more attention and are more expensive. Bowerman said the autopsies of the murder victims by themselves account for a majority of the funding.

Bowerman said that based on the money paid out and what is still owed, the coroner's office will have about $3,000 left once the $10,000 transfers. He said it is possible the coroners may have to go back and ask for more money later.

County coroners Joseph Riley and Susan Quackenbush were unavailable for comment.



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