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County To Pay Arrasmith Legal Tab Hand-Picked Attorneys Ok, Judge Rules; Defense Fund Dry

Kenneth Arrasmith is entitled to have his attorneys represent him against two murder charges at Nez Perce County’s expense, 2nd District Judge Ida Leggett has ruled.

Roy and Craig Mosman will be paid $60 an hour, the usual fee for public defenders in the county.

The suggestion by County Prosecutor Denise Rosen that Arrasmith is not truly needy because he and his wife hid assets in her name to avoid paying child support is not wholly unreasonable, Leggett said in her written order Friday.

But, she added, she cannot make a decision based on suspicion rather than evidence.

Arrasmith, 44, is accused of killing Ronald and Luella Bingham May 17 outside a Lewiston auto repair shop. He contends the Clarkston, Wash., couple sexually tortured his teenage daughter; even after being presented evidence, Asotin County sheriff’s officials did nothing.

The Binghams had a history of abusing young girls spanning more than 20 years, Arrasmith alleges. He said at least 20 former victims have come forward since his arrest.

Arrasmith last week told the judge he is broke and no longer can pay the Mosmans. Money contributed to a defense fund, estimated at $43,000, has been tapped out, he said, and he is $17,000 behind in his legal bills.

Rosen argued while other indigent defendants are provided an attorney at no cost, they usually do not get to choose their lawyers.

But Leggett said because the state intends to seek the death penalty, the defense counsel should have experience in such cases.

The jury will be chosen from outside of Nez Perce County. The trial will begin Nov. 6 in Lewiston.