Maricopa House

In December, police searched this home on West Yucca Lane in Maricopa for a missing dog and found approximately 100 firearms with tens of thousands of rounds, along with multiple passports belonging to Sasha Verma, who was arrested.

FLORENCE — Through his attorney, Sasha Verma has declared himself too broke to afford expert witnesses for his upcoming trial.

Verma, 50, of Maricopa, was arrested Dec. 19 after police received a 911 report of a missing dog and a pool of blood on West Yucca Lane. After a search of the home, he was arrested for 11 counts of sexual exploitation of children and cruelty to animals.

On April 19, Kamille Dean, Verma’s attorney in Pasadena, California, filed a motion before Pinal County Superior Court Judge Christopher O’Neil requesting the court declare her client indigent and provide funds for expert witnesses Lonnie Dworkin, Anita Zannin, Ted Haiton, Eric Brown and a private investigation firm.

Dean also requested an expedited decision in the matter.

Verma remains in the Pinal County Adult Detention Center on $500,000 cash bond.

The missing dog, named Bruno, was owned by Ethan Cook and Amalia Clark, who are Verma’s neighbors. Bruno allegedly was shot and killed by Verma. The shooting led Maricopa Police to arrest Verma for child exploitation in connection with pornography he possessed. The missing dog Bruno has never been found.

When arrested, Verma had multiple passports and multiple citizenship documents from different countries in his possession including Germany, Canada and the United States, according to court records. Police also state he “has access to a large amount of money” and even had $70,000 cash with him when arrested at his house in Maricopa.

In the April 19 motion Dean wrote, “Mr. Verma is indigent and cannot afford to retain an expert. Mr. Verma has remained in custody on a $500,000 cash bond. He has no income. Mr. Verma’s parents have both died since he has been in custody and their assets are tied up in probate.

“The little money Mr. Verma has left must be used to pay his house bills and undersigned counsel. Mr. Verma does not have the financial means to retain Lonnie Dworkin on his own.”

Dworkin is a digital forensic examiner.

Dean also requested the state pay for a special investigator and hire only Williams Investigation to examine blood splatter patterns, veterinary forensic experts, shooting reconstructions and a medical expert.

In the motion, Dean asked the court to also pay blood splatter/veterinary expert Anita Zannin, a forensic scientist who requires a $3,000 retainer for 10 hours work and $300 per hour after that. She also requests $1,650 to testify for a half day, $3,000 for travel expenses, $50 a day for days held for court or depositions and $500 for canceled court appearances.

Other experts requested were Brown Ted Haiton, who are photographic experts. Brown requests $400 per hour with a minimum of five hours work to review photographs and documents and an additional $400 per hour with a five-hour minimum to go to the scene.

Haiton requires a minimum of four to six hours payment at $450 an hour.

Williams Investigation is expecting to be paid $40 per hour of investigation and Verma’s attorneys request money to pay for at least 50 hours investigation.

O’Neil has not yet ruled on the motion, but a hearing is scheduled on June 1 to discuss the matter.

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Jim Headley is a reporter covering breaking news, crime and justice around Pinal County. He can be reached at jheadley@pinalcentral.com.

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