Russell Case Could Go To Jury Monday

KELSO, WA — Jurors as Fred Russell’s vehicular homicide trial in Kelso spent Friday listening to a very long day of testimony from rebuttal witnesses and will return Monday morning for more of the same and a chance of closing arguments in the case as the trial reaches its conclusion.

Among the rebuttal witnesses testifying on the stand Friday were former Whitman County deputy prosecutor Carol Laverne who told the jury that she asked the state crime lab to save Russell’s blood samples. The state crime lab destroyed Russell’s blood evidence which showed his blood alcohol content the night of the collision in June of 2001.

While prosecutors have previously argued successfully that the evidence was destroyed accidentally, defense attorneys have argued the evidence’s destruction violated Russell’s right to a fair trial.

On Friday however, Russell’s defense attorneys tried to show bias on the part of prosecutors, claiming they withheld information about the destruction of the blood evidence from the Irish court system during Russell’s extradition from Ireland.

Another rebuttal witness called to the stand was a Washington State Patrol detective who said that Russell was driving approximately 80 miles-an-hour at the time of the collision.

A defense witness said in testimony earlier this week that Russell was going about 66 miles-an-hour.

Judge David Frazier had considered keeping the jury in court through Friday evening and there was even discussion about continuing court on Saturday, but just before 5 p.m. he opted to give the court the weekend off before resuming the case Monday morning.

Following closing arguments and instructions from Judge Frazier the case will then go to the jury.