County Approves Leggs Prosecution Funding

SALISBURY — Wicomico County officials this week vowed to continue to spend what was necessary for the prosecution of Thomas James Leggs, accused of kidnapping and murdering an 11-year-old girl in December 2009, as the costs associated with the case start to mount.

The Wicomico County Council on Tuesday somewhat reluctantly approved a requested supplemental appropriation of $11,638 for the State’s Attorney’s Office for costs associated with prosecuting Leggs, whose trial has been moved to Cecil County. The trial is currently set to being on April 18 and is laid in on the docket for nearly a month, but there have been countless motions hearings, including a hearing on the pursuit of the death penalty in the case, with several more scheduled as the trial date nears.

Leggs, 30, of Salisbury was indicted in January 2010 on first-degree murder, kidnapping and other charges for the death of 11-year-old Sarah Haley Foxwell, whose body was found near Delmar in late December 2009 after a massive search conducted by thousands of volunteers. Leggs was quickly identified as the suspect in the case and was formally indicted by a grand jury in January 2010.

The case has had many complications since. For example, it was moved to Cecil County last year when prosecutors vowed to seek the death penalty in the case. In the interim, Wicomico County elected new State’s Attorney Matt Maciarello, who quickly decided to have former Wicomico State’s Attorney Davis Ruark handle the case as a special prosecutor rather than changing the prosecution team in midstream.

The Wicomico County prosecution team has made as many as nine trips to Cecil County for various hearings, typically attended by two to three people. This week, the Wicomico County Council was asked to approve a special $11,638 appropriation to cover the costs of the repeated trips to Cecil County but not before questioning if the state was going to foot part of the bill.

“Back when this all started, I was under the understanding that the state was going to take care of much of these expenses,” said Councilman Joe Holloway.

However, Councilman Bob Culver said the county should approve the requested expenditure because of the gravity of the case.

“I would like to pursue whatever we can get, but I don’t think we should be cutting any dollars,” he said. “Whatever it is they need to prosecute this case to the fullest, we need to get to them. This is such an important case for Wicomico County.”