Commissioners tapped the county’s reserves Monday to help with costs associated with much-talked-about, upcoming murder trials.

The $45,000, including $30,000 for district court and $15,000 for District Attorney John Terrill’s office, will be “sitting and waiting in the event it is necessary,” County Judge Tab Thompson said.

In the past, Thompson said commissioners have budgeted for such expenses and not had to use it. However, commissioners didn’t include such expenditures in this year’s budget and had to take the appropriate action Monday.

“We hope for the best (with the costs) and prepare for the worst,” County Auditor James Young told commissioners.

Upcoming trials include Cody Roberson, a 17-year-old accused of murdering his mother with an aluminum baseball bat, and Joseph Scott Hatley, who allegedly committed a “cold case,” 1987 murder of a Stephenville woman.

Young said the $45,000 would come from “reserves,” it will only be used if necessary, and it will have no additional impact on taxpayers, meaning tax rates will not have to be raised.

“Just get prepared in the event we need it,” Thompson said.

Without objection, commissioners Doug Eberhart, Jerry Martin, Lynn Tidwell and Randy Lowe approved the potential expenditures.

DOUG MYERS is Managing Editor of the Empire-Tribune. He can be reached at or (254) 965-3124, ext. 229.