Taxpayers Paying Suspected Murderer's Medical Bills - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Taxpayers Paying Suspected Murderer's Medical Bills

By Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

Burglars, rapists and now an Odessa man charged with capital murder; you're footing the bill for their medical costs.

The deal is, if they can't pay, taxpayers often take care of the tab which can reach into the millions.

NewsWest 9 acquired court records that detail just some of the medical costs for Larry Neil White - the man accused of shooting and killing three Odessa police officers in 2007 – who is now fighting cancer.

His trial is scheduled to begin in August, but in the meantime, taxpayers are taking care of some of his medical costs, including a recent $5,000 PET scan paid for out of the county's general fund.

Many times state law requires the Ector County Hospital District to foot the bill if an inmate can't pay.    

The county auditor told NewsWest 9, the district is set to reimburse Ector County for the $6,000 it gave to make sure White received adequate care.

In the last six months, the Ector County Hospital District Indigent Assistance Program has paid out $8.8 million to care for people including inmates like White and tax dollars covered about half of that.

Some people NewsWest 9 talked to say they don't mind helping out people behind bars before a trial, but when there's a verdict the cash flow needs to stop.

Jury selection for White's case will begin on August 17 in Howard County to ensure he receives a fair trial, but witness testimony isn't expected to begin until October 12.

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