Appeals Court Upholds Russell Conviction

An appellate court has upheld Fred Russell’s conviction in a deadly 2001 collision on the Moscow-Pullman Road that killed three Washington State University students.

The Washington Court of Appeals upheld his conviction on vehicular homicide and vehicular assault charges for the June 2001 crash in which Stacy Morrow, Brandon Clements and Ryan Sorenson were killed. The court said Russell’s 17-point appeal of his trial was without merit.

While this was another setback for Russell, the court did give him a minor victory, ordering that he should be given credit for time served in Ireland, where he was held in custody while fighting his extradition back to the United States.

In 2009 Whitman County Judge David Frazier denied his request to get credit for time served; Russell’s attorney argued the appeal before the appellate court last December.

Russell spent 384 days in Cloverhill Prison near Dublin while he was fighting his extradition. He was extradited back to the United States in 2006, tried and convicted in 2008, and sentenced to 14 years in prison.

He now has 30 days to appeal the court’s ruling to the Washington State Supreme Court. If he appeals the ruling, then the appellate process continues until the court either hears or declines to hear his appeal.

If he does appeal, and goes through the appellate process with the state’s high court, once the process is resolved, if they uphold the lower court’s decision and his conviction, he will then be brought back to Whitman County for a re-sentencing hearing where a judge will subtract 384 days from his sentence.

Russell is currently being held at Coyote Ridge Correctional Facility in Connell. Scheduled to be released in mid-2016, with the appeals court ruling he could be out of prison as early as the spring of 2015.

KXLY4’s Erik Loney contributed to this report