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.