AP

Judge drops cannibalism charge in northern Idaho murder case

Jun 15, 2022, 12:38 PM | Updated: 1:03 pm

SANDPOINT, Idaho (AP) — A judge has dropped a cannibalism charge against a northern Idaho man after finding that there wasn’t enough evidence to move forward to a trial, but said the man will still face a first-degree murder charge.

James David Russell, 40, was arrested Sept. 10, 2021, and charged with killing David Milton Flaget, 70, on the Russell family property in Bonner County, the Bonner County Daily Bee reported. Prosecutors later added the cannibalism charge, writing in court documents that Russell believed he could “cure his brain” by eating some of the victim.

During a preliminary hearing on Monday, 1st District Magistrate Judge Tera Harden said she didn’t find sufficient evidence to send Russell to district court on the cannibalism charge. However, Harden said the first-degree murder charge would move forward, and that there was evidence to support a charge of mayhem. Idaho law defines mayhem as depriving someone of part of their body or rendering part of the body useless.

Autopsy results showed Flaget died from blunt force trauma to his head. Bonner County Sheriff’s Office Detective Phillip Stella told the court that there was blood dripping out of the vehicle where Flaget’s body was found, and that his body had been mutilated with parts of his thigh and genital region removed.

One of Russell’s defense attorneys, Randy Michael Grossman, asked the detective if he was aware that Russell was under the care of a psychiatrist, prescribed medication and that he heard imaginary voices. Stella said he was unaware of Russell’s medical history.

Russell’s other defense attorney, Sean Walsh, did not immediately respond to a message requesting comment on Wednesday.

Russell is scheduled to be arraigned in district court on June 21.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday...

Associated Press

Some in Houston facing no power for weeks after storms cause widespread damage, killing at least 4

Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday, May 17. Thunderstorms hit the southeastern part of Texas, killing at least four people.

16 hours ago

Man gets 30 years in prison for attacking ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer...

Associated Press

Man gets 30 years in prison for attacking ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer

A man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for attacking the husband of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with a hammer.

17 hours ago

audio from President Joe Biden’s interview about classified documents blocked...

Associated Press

GOP advances Garland contempt charges after White House exerts executive privilege over Biden audio

The move to release audio from President Joe Biden’s interview about classified documents was blocked on Thursday by the White House.

2 days ago

Asylum processing for new migrants: Changes could come soon...

Associated Press

The Biden administration is planning more changes to quicken asylum processing for new migrants

The Biden administration is planning to quicken the asylum processing for new migrants as an interim step rather than an executive order.

3 days ago

Record-setting rally for U.S. stocks reflects inflation slowing down...

Associated Press

Stock market today: Asian shares advance after another round of Wall St records

The S&P 500 jumped 1.2% to top its prior high set a month and a half ago. This move reflects a record-setting rally for U.S. stocks.

3 days ago

This combo image shows President Joe Biden, left, Jan. 5, 2024, and Republican presidential candida...

Associated Press

Biden and Trump agree to hold presidential debates in June and in September

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump have agreed to hold two campaign debates, on June 27 hosted by CNN and on Sept. 10 hosted by ABC.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

Judge drops cannibalism charge in northern Idaho murder case