By Mugo Odigwe

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — As the case against the suspected East Area Rapist moves forward, the cost of prosecuting him is turning out to be more than Sacrament County bargained for — approximately $20 million.

County Supervisors took up the issue of funding the case on Tuesday.

“This is a big dollar item that could have an impact on our general fund,” said Don Nottoli, District five supervisor.

Nottoli said the county does not want the shoulder the cost of prosecuting the East Area Rapist case alone.

“$20 million, even if that’s spread over a year or two or more, that’s a lot of money,” Nottoli said.

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Finding the necessary funding as the case moves forward was a huge topic during Tuesday’s meeting. Right now, the county has two options on the table.

“One would be to ask the other counties to help shoulder some of the cost of prosecuting this case and defending it,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney, Steve Grippi.

He said the other option is to go to the state legislature and ask them to help fund the case. That’s the route county leaders decided to take.

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“We have six counties working collaboratively to prosecute the case but really there were 11 counties that were alleged to have been affected by the East Area Rapist or the Golden State Killer,” Grippi said.

He added that when you add up the population in those 11 counties, it equals one-third of the state’s population.

“From what I know, and I’ve been here 30 years, I think it’s an unprecedented case. The size and enormity of the evidence,” he said.

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It’s why county officials believe it’s a statewide issue and they hope the legislature will agree to help fund the prosecution and defense of the case.

“It’s a 40-year investigation so it has a lot of information that’s really where all the cost and effort will be borne,” he said

Even though the current estimate is $20 million, county officials say it’s likely that number will rise as the case moves forward.

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