An Idaho man accused of murdering and maiming a man in a bid to heal his ailing brain will no longer face a cannibalism charge in the case.
James David Russell was arrested in September and charged with the slaying David Milton Flaget. The 70-year-old victim was discovered dead and half-naked inside his truck with parts of his thigh and genital region removed, according to authorities.
Police said there was blood dripping from the vehicle, parked at the time on the Russell family property in Bonner County. Autopsy results showed the victim died from blunt force trauma to his head.
Inside Russell’s apartment, investigators said they discovered “suspected human flesh, latex gloves, bloody newspapers, bloody pieces of duct tape, cutting implements with suspected blood and several areas of blood.” According to court documents, they also found his microwave splattered with blood and more suspected human flesh.
After the arrest, the 40-year-old suspect told authorities he believed he could “cure his brain” by eating Flaget.
Still, 1st District Magistrate Judge Tera Harden said she didn’t find sufficient evidence to send Russell to trial on the cannibalism charge. She added that she would let the first-degree murder charge move forward.
One of Russell’s defense attorneys, Randy Michael Grossman, asked during a preliminary hearing earlier this week whether authorities knew his client was under the care of a psychiatrist, prescribed medication and that he heard imaginary voices. Bonner County Sheriff’s Office Detective Phillip Stella, who responded to the gruesome scene last fall, said authorities were not aware of the suspect’s medical history.
Just prior to the grisly murder, Russell was reportedly staying at a California mental hospital, where he told family members he intended to kill someone and consume their flesh. He is scheduled to be arraigned in district court on June 21.
With News Wire Services