Idaho resident James David Russell won’t be facing cannibalism charges. He is accused of “murdering and maiming a man in a bid to heal his ailing brain.” That sort of folk remedy is frowned upon these days, which means he probably didn’t have access to the proper mental health care he obviously required.
No cannibalism charges
Just because he’s not being prosecuted on charges of cannibalism doesn’t mean he didn’t chow down on David Milton Flaget. Liberal prosecutors never want to ask questions they don’t really want to hear the answers to. So, they apparently never had the “flesh” recovered from the Defendant’s microwave analyzed for DNA.
Even worse than confirming the microwaved meat came from the victim, it could have come from another human. That would mean another victim and they would have to open another file. Too much work. Let’s just pretend it’s hamburger in there and prosecute him on the open and shut murder.
Police arrested James Russell in September and charged him with murdering 70-year-old David Flaget. They found him “dead and half-naked inside his truck with parts of his thigh and genital region removed.”
When cops rolled up, “there was blood dripping from the vehicle, parked at the time on the Russell family property in Bonner County.” The autopsy “showed the victim died from blunt force trauma to his head.” They weren’t aware of the possible cannibalism until they went inside.
Once they gained entrance to Russell’s apartment, investigators had no problem finding “suspected human flesh, latex gloves, bloody newspapers, bloody pieces of duct tape, cutting implements with suspected blood and several areas of blood.”
The police report also happened to mention “they also found his microwave splattered with blood and more suspected human flesh.” Cannibalism? Hush, let’s not worry about that.
An old family remedy
After they had him safely in handcuffs down at the precinct, “the 40-year-old suspect told authorities he believed he could cure his brain.” He could do that “by eating Flaget.” Some would call that a confession of cannibalism. First District Magistrate Judge Tera Harden isn’t one of them.
That’s probably because the prosecutors didn’t give her an analysis of what the suspected “flesh” was. It could have been hamburger. It was clear that there was more than enough evidence for murder so keep the ball rolling. “She added that she would let the first-degree murder charge move forward.” No need to complicate things.
During the preliminary hearing, one of Russell’s defense attorneys, Randy Michael Grossman, asked the prosecution if they “knew his client was under the care of a psychiatrist, prescribed medication and that he heard imaginary voices.”
Detective Phillip Stella, with the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office answered that “authorities were not aware of the suspect’s medical history.” He happened to be the responding officer who discovered the “gruesome scene last fall.” His shrinks knew he had tendencies toward cannibalism.
Somehow, Russell managed to check out of Hotel California and actually leave, too. “Just prior to the grisly murder, Russell was reportedly staying at a California mental hospital, where he told family members he intended to kill someone and consume their flesh.” Nobody is talking about how he ended up on the outside and a threat to the general public.
They could use that against him to support cannibalism charges but it wouldn’t be strong enough to make it all the way through to a conviction. Just because he had the intent didn’t mean he did it. A DNA analysis matching the microwaved meat to the victim would prove it cold. Good thing they didn’t do that. Russell is due back in court June 21 for arraignment.