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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Brent Russ

Stalking suspect released from custody

The Spokane man accused of sending threatening letters to a former neighbor alluding to his belief he was the Archangel of Death has been released under supervision to seek psychiatric evaluation.

 

Brent Russ, 33, had been in custody of the U.S. marshals since his arrest in September. Federal agents investigating letters and phone messages to Russ’ southwest Spokane neighbor, a tribal police officer, discovered guns and a journal outlining Russ’ beliefs he was the “embodiment of God’s wrath.” Prosecutors were charging him with one criminal stalking count and two counts of mailing threatening communications.

 

Those charges were suspended for five years by a federal judge Friday, who ordered Russ stay with his parents in western Washington, surrender his guns and seek psychiatric evaluation. Russ will also be supervised by federal court officials as part of the pretrial agreement.

 

The order puts the prosecution on hold so that Russ can demonstrate “good conduct,” according to U.S. District Judge Thomas O. Rice. The ruling leaves the door open for future prosecution or to dismiss the charges entirely.

Judge denies stalking suspect’s request to dismiss charges

The Spokane man accused of sending threatening letters to a tribal police officer that included allusions to his belief he was the “Archangel of Death” remains in custody pending trial after a federal judge shot down his contention the mailings were protected by the First Amendment.

Brent Russ, 33, argued earlier this month the letters he sent a former neighbor expressed his religious views, not an intimidating intent. U.S. District Court Judge Thomas O. Rice denied the claim, as well as a request from Russ that he be released from custody ahead of his upcoming trial after two mental health experts deemed he posed no threat to the community.

“The Court continues to harbor reasonable concerns about Defendant’s mental stability that prohibit it from releasing Defendant at this time,” Rice wrote in an order denying Russ' release. Rice also found the language of the letter suggesting legal action, in which Russ wrote that he would “take everything you have, everything you ever had, and everything you ever will have through the courts,” was not solely a legal communication and thus did not qualify for First Amendment protection.

Concerns about Russ' mental state were raised after a disturbing manifesto was found at his home by federal agents investigating the stalking claims. In the journal, Russ admits slaying nocturnal creatures by slicing through their brains with a Samurai sword and says he experienced a “download” in early 2013 that prompted him to file lawsuits against the nation's biggest banks. He also wrote about sending plans to dissolve the government to President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, according to court documents.

Russ has been in custody of U.S. marshals since his arrest in September. Defense attorney Andrea George has asked Rice to push the trial date from later this month to February to allow more time for experts to determine Russ' mental state.

Doctors: ‘Archangel of Death’ stalking suspect in remission

Citing two mental health professionals who say his psychosis was a “one-time episode” that is now in remission, the attorney for the Spokane man charged with stalking a tribal police officer after federal investigators discovered a disturbing manifesto in his home is asking for her client's release.

Brent Russ has remained in custody of U.S. marshals since his arrest in September. At the time, federal agents following up on claims from a tribal police officer she was being stalked by Russ, a former neighbor, found modified weapons and a journal in the man's home that discussed establishing a “kill room” similar to that featured in the television program “Dexter” and a “download” that prompted him to file civil claims against the nation's biggest banks. He also wrote of being an agent of Azrael, the fabled Archangel of Death.

A federal judge ordered Russ held pending a psychiatric evaluation in October. Another judge upheld that order last month.

But with two doctors now writing after independent evaluations that Russ poses no threat to the community, attorney Andrea George is asking Russ be released pending his trial, scheduled for later this month.

George will make her case, and ask that the charge against Russ be dropped, at a hearing scheduled for later this week. 

‘Archangel of Death’ stalking suspect remains in custody

Though a clinical psychologist concluded he was not a danger to the community, a Spokane man facing a federal stalking charge who was arrested after a cache of weapons and a disturbing journal was found in his home will remain in jail until his scheduled January trial date, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Brent Russ, 33, has remained in the custody of U.S. marshals since his arrest in September. Federal agents searched Russ' southwest Spokane home and discovered several guns modified to inflict greater harm, as well as photos of weapons on the man's computer that have yet to be located, according to subsequent briefs from investigators.

The search was prompted by a complaint from a female tribal police officer and former neighbor of Russ'. According to a now-sealed affidavit, Russ allegedly made statements indicating he had the woman under surveillance and sent her a threatening package when she approached mental health experts about his erratic behavior.

Among the written materials discovered by investigators were claims Russ was slaying nocturnal demonic creatures by slicing their brains with a sword and the construction of a “kill room” like something you would see in the television show “Dexter,” which details the exploits of a forensics investigator who moonlights as a serial killer.

Defense attorneys have elected not to pursue an insanity plea in the case, however they have signaled intentions to prove Russ was not fully aware of the consequences of his alleged criminal acts through a diminished capacity argument. United States District Judge Thomas O. Rice ruled the evaluation of Mark Mays, a psychologist who examined Russ, that the 33-year-old was not a danger to the community was not enough to release him from custody.

“… the Court still has reasonable concerns about the Defendant's competency,” Rice wrote.

A trial date in late January has been tentatively scheduled. Russ faces a maximum five-year prison term and a fine of up to $25,000 if convicted on the stalking charge.

Man claiming to be “Archangel of Death” indicted on stalking charges

A Spokane man found with a collection of modified weapons and an extensive journal detailing plots to overthrow the federal government pleaded not guilty to federal stalking charges last week.

Brent Russ, 33, was arrested last month after authorities say he sent a threatening letter and package to a former neighbor, who is also a tribal police officer. The woman reported suspicious activity, including comments made by Russ detailing her daily schedule that led her to believe she was being watched.

When federal agents arrived at Russ' southwest Spokane home to question him, they found reinforced steel plating on the doors and windows, tin foil lining interior walls and a lengthy journal dating back to February in which Russ identifies himself as Azrael, the Archangel of Death. Agents also found weapons featuring after-market modifications including a long-range scope, a fluted barrel to increase firing speed and a flash suppressor with chiseled points on the end, designed “to break glass and cause puncture wounds or lacerations to a target,” according to briefs filed by the FBI.

In the journal, Russ apparently indicated his willingness to die in battle against the forces of evil.

“I will exact vengeance on the wicked, and will free humanity from these demons,” Russ allegedly wrote. He also questioned the authenticity of evidence gathered against Adam Lanza, the shooter who killed 26 people, including 20 children, at a Connecticut elementary school in December.

At a lengthy bail hearing later in September, U.S. Magistrate Judge John Rodgers ordered Russ held by federal marshals in advance of courtroom proceedings. A grand jury formally charged Russ with one count of stalking on Tuesday, and Russ pleaded not guilty to the charge Wednesday. His trial has been tentatively scheduled for December.

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