The Hunt County Commissioners Court voted this week to renew the county’s membership in a program which helps pay for defense attorneys in death penalty capital murder cases, including one from Royse City.
A vote to approve the renewal of the interlocal agreement with Lubbock County through the Regional Public Defender for Capital Cases program was included under the consent calendar for Tuesday morning’s regular session and was approved without any discussion.
Hunt County has been a part of the program since first enrolling in August 2012.
The West Texas Regional Public Defender Office was established in 2007 through interlocal agreements between the counties in the 7th and 9th judicial regions, with Lubbock County serving as the administrative county. Each participating county agrees to pay a yearly fee, based on its population and the number of capital murder cases it has filed within the last 10 years.
The cost of the program to Hunt County is on a sliding scale, with the costs rising each year.
There are some limitations to the program. In the event two people are charged with capital murder and are facing the death penalty in the same case, the office could only defend one of them. The office also doesn’t handle the appeals of any convictions, nor does it pay for “second chair” defense attorneys, both of which would be still be paid for through the county. The office also does not handle capital murder cases where the death penalty is not being sought.
Hunt County currently has four potential death penalty capital murder cases pending trial, two of which at last report are being represented by the West Texas Regional Public Defender Office, with one involving two shooting deaths earlier this year in Royse City,
Dearis Rayvone Davis, 19, of Arlington and Calvin Earl Rayford, 18, of Rowlett were indicted on capital murder charges by the Hunt County grand jury involving the deaths of Courtland Trowell-Wilmore and a juvenile male whose family is asking for his name to be withheld from publication.
Davis and Rayford are each being held in lieu of $1 million bond each on charges of capital murder of multiple persons filed by the Royse City Police Department.
Both were taken into custody May 29.
The Royse City Police Department reported it had found two people dead in the Woodland Creek subdivision during the early hours of Feb. 3, with a third individual believed to have left the scene.
One of the two victims was a high school student at the time of his death, and the other was a former student.
Capital murder carries a sentence upon conviction of lethal injection or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Davis has had an attorney through the West Texas Regional Public Defender Office appointed to represent him, while Rayford has hired a defense attorney.