Richard Luther Russell, a 66-year-old resident of Pershing lane in Palm Coast, spent the last two weeks of July in jail after an arrest on charges of throwing rocks at cars on State Road A1A and damaging at least one of them, which was carrying a juvenile. He posted bond and was released on Aug. 3.
On Sunday, he was arrested again, this time for allegedly brandishing an ax and hurling misogynistic insults at his neighbor–a woman who moments before had been holding her 1-year-old son and walking into her house.
It was Russell’s fifth arrest and eighth criminal charge since 2003–he has four guilty convictions–all of them related to brandishing or shooting firearms or brandishing or throwing other weapons.
The 33-year-old woman told deputies she’d just gotten home with her son from dinner around 8 p.m. She saw Russell at the south end corner of her front lawn. He was yelling at her but she could not understand what. She then asked him to shut off his water on his property since it was flooding the swale and the street. Russell, according to his arrest report, then started calling the woman names even as she held her son. She walked into the house to put her son down and get away from Russell.
A bit later she had to retrieve more things from the car, so she walked back out to her driveway. At that point, she told deputies, she saw Russell “approaching her with an axe in his right hand angled downwards along his right side of his body,” the report states. He continued to call her names. She saw him raise the ax as he continued to advance toward her, cursing all the while. She told deputies “she believed Richard would have thrown the axe at her if she had not ran inside of her residence.” She called 911. She could see Russell walk back to his house and put away the ax, a black 3-foot handle with an 8-inch blade head that deputies found as the woman described it, on Russell’s property.
When deputies arrived, Russell was in his driveway. “It should be noted Deputy G. Shaughnessy immediately recognized Richard due to numerous law enforcement encounters,” the arrest report states. Russell had “unknown items in both of his hands and due to the report of weapons Deputy G. Shaughnessy drew his firearm,” ordering Russell to put down whatever was in his hands. He complied.
Russell was arrested, but before he was booked at the county jail he complained to jail staff that his foot had been run over about a week earlier. He was taken to AdventHealth. There, hospital staff discovered that his foot was severely infected, possibly broken. He was admitted. “Once first appearance has been conducted, the inmate facility personnel will assume guard at the hospital until his release,” his arrest report states. Bond has not been set.
Russell is still dealing with his July 22 arrest, when he admitted to throwing rocks at passing cars in the construction area on State Road A1A at the south end of Flagler Beach. He claimed to police at the time that he was doing so to protect himself from cars that were veering at him, though in the construction zone pedestrians have no reason to be in the roadway, which is delimited by wide concrete barriers. He is due in court on Aug. 26 to address a felony charge and a misdemeanor in that case. It is likely that his cases will be consolidated.
Russell is known to have had firearms. Several years ago, he had to give up his firearms while on probation. Prosecutors asked then-Judge Kim Hammond to prohibit Russell from having firearms again, because of his history of misuse. Hammond refused to make the order permanent.
He lost his MAGA hat, too many Trump ralleys.
Is FlaglerLive making the case for forced commitment? There was a landmark Supreme Court case in 1975 filed by the ACLU on behalf of a “Florida Man” who was involuntarily confined in a Florida State Hospital for 15 years. A unanimous Supreme Court ruled that states cannot confine a non-dangerous individual who can survive on his own, or with help from family and friends*. Unfortunately we only find out there dangerous when they become ax murderers. I have sympathy for Mr Russell, he needs help, not prison time, but thanks to those caring ACLU lawyers from the 70’s (such as Ruth Buzzy Ginsberg), he story will end up differently.
Tunnel Rat says
He has had many chances to change his ways. But NO, he continues to be a DANGER to the public.
Really enough is enough right. Cmon. Get him off the streets
Any chance this guy will stay locked up until he gets the help he obviously needs?
Concerned Citizen says
I’m always amused that the “mental health” card is always thrown down. Poor pitiful him not responsible for his actions because he has “ISSUES” Well guess what we all have some level of issues that we are dealing with.
Could it be this guy is just a mean asshat? The world is full of them you know.
The DA and Judges need to do the right thing this time and hold this guy accountable for his actions. Charge him and sentence accordingly. Before he really hurts someone.
Shame on Judge Hammond for not limitng this guys access to fire arms. If he has a case of “misuse” he needs to not have them readily accesible.
I said it with this guy in the last article. When he kills somebody the article will say there where warining sings but no one did anything….
Myra Land says
Richard is my brother and has suffered PTSD since coming home from Vietnam as well as severe mental disorders. I agree that his guns need to be taken away from him and that he needs to stay on his medications and see his psych monthly and have it be court ordered. I love him very much; but agree he does need help. God bless him.