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Spokane County dedicates quarter of a million dollars for defense of accused Freeman shooter

SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane County has allocated a quarter of a million dollars to the Public Defender’s Office for the accused Freeman High School shooter’s case. 

Caleb Sharpe, 17, is accused of opening fire at Freeman High School in 2017 and killing one of his classmates. Three other students were injured that day.

Sharpe faces one count of first-degree murder, three counts of first-degree attempted murder and 51 counts of second-degree assault. He will be tried as an adult. 

The request, filed by Chief Budget Officer Tonya Wallace, asked for the commissioners to allocate $255,000. The money will go toward hiring one full-time and one part-time public defender to back fill for the two attorneys representing Sharpe.

Sharpe was previously represented by private attorney Bevan Maxey. Maxey recently left the case, citing unpaid legal fees.

Sharpe is now being represented by two public defenders, Brooke Foley and Tony Beattie. Part of the funds allocated by the Spokane County Commissioners will also go toward hiring an investigator. 

During a pre-trial hearing on Friday, a judge determined Sharpe's trial will begin in October 2020, nearly a year after it was expected to begin and more than three years after the shooting. Foley and Beattie argued that a year was not enough time to prepare for trial since they were recently brought onto the case. 

Judge Michael Price called them "fine lawyers" and said he is confident they will be ready. 

There will be a status hearing every 60 days leading up until the trial to make sure all parties are ready. The trial is expected to last between four and six weeks. 

RELATED: Accused Freeman High School shooter's trial set for October 2020

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