County to be reimbursed for part of trial
Goins agreed to pay $10,000 toward the cost of DNA testing in his case.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Lawyers have reached an agreement in which Mahoning County will be reimbursed for part of the cost of DNA testing for a criminal investigation and trial.
Prosecutors had sought to collect $21,000 from James Goins to cover the cost of the trial that led to his conviction in common pleas court on multiple counts for beating and robbing three elderly people.
Goins, 18, is serving more than 85 years in prison for the conviction. He has a $2 million trust account that came from a wrongful death claim for his father in 1991.
Prosecutors filed a motion in April seeking to seize enough of those assets to reimburse the county for the trial costs. About $18,000 was used for DNA testing at a Maryland laboratory and for experts from the lab to testify during the trial.
The rest was for juror fees and other associated costs.
Goins' attorneys had disputed whether the DNA testing could actually be considered part of the cost of prosecution. The issue was being hammered out in court.
But prosecutors and Atty. Sarah Thomas Kovoor, who represents Goins, agreed this week on a $10,000 payment that ends the dispute.
"That money is coming back to Mahoning County," said Assistant Prosecutor Jay Macejko.
In many cases, convicted defendants are indigent and can't afford to pay court costs, so they are waived by the judge. But if a defendant has assets and can pay, the judge can order them to do so.
Macejko said judges have discretion to impose court costs and "any other financial sanction" on defendants with ability to pay.
Kovoor and Macejko said the juror fees and other court costs were never in dispute and are already paid.
Earlier this week, Goins agreed to pay $1 million to 84-year-old William Sovak, who was one of the victims in his crime spree. The settlement ended a civil lawsuit Sovak had filed against Goins and Chad Barnette.
Barnette, also 18, was convicted of the same charges as Goins and is serving the same prison sentence. They were tried as adults even though they were 16 when they committed the crimes.