Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mahanoy City Native Loses Round in Appeal of Murder Conviction

Robert Russell, a Mahanoy City native, who in 1991 was the first person to be convicted of first degree murder with no crime scene, in Federal Court, in the United States, lost another appeal of his conviction Monday.

Russell's basis of appeal  was the prosecution withheld evidence, it used grand jury testimony it knew was false and his defense counsel was also ineffective for withholding evidence.

Russell is currently serving a life sentence  at the Allenwood Federal Penitentiary for his conviction of killing his estranged wife, Marine Captain Shirely Gibbs Russell in March 1989 in Quantico, VA. Prosecutors alleged the body was then dumped in an abandoned coal mine in Pennsylvania.

It was reported by Pennlive.com that the judge presiding over the appeal, U.S. Middle District Judge John E. Jones III said that the dismissal was to allow Russell to seek permission from the 4th Circuit court of Appeals in Virginia to file a new one there.

The 4th circuit had already rejected an appeal by Russell.  If they reject the appeal a second time, Russell will need to file a new petition in U.S. Middle Court.