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Decatur man denies trying to shoot woman to death

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DECATUR — Javonne D. Russell told a judge Wednesday he was innocent of trying to kill a Decatur woman by pumping multiple bullets into her car while she was parked outside a city bar.

Russell

Russell

The vehicle was peppered with bullet holes but prosecutors said the intended 27-year-old victim escaped injury and told police she recognized Russell, 25, as the assailant.

Russell appeared in Macon County Circuit Court pleading not guilty to a charge of attempted murder and two counts alleging the aggravated discharge of a firearm. He also denied a further charge of being a felon in possession of a weapon in the incident, which dates to about 1:40 a.m. Oct. 25 outside of 22nd Discount Liquor.

Judge Rodney Forbes found probable cause to try Russell after listening to evidence presented by Decatur Police Officer Kristina Kemnitz.

Responding to questions from Macon County State’s Attorney Scott Rueter, Kemnitz said the terrified victim had raised the alarm by calling a bartender and saying that Russell, whom she knew as “Ray,” had just tried to murder her.

Kemnitz said the female bartender was already aware there was trouble having heard “six to seven gunshots coming from the area of the parking lot.”

The officer told Rueter that police had later reviewed video surveillance footage which showed a man identified as Russell approaching the car of the victim. “...He then pulls his right hand from the front of his sweatshirt and begins firing seven or eight shots at the vehicle,” said Rueter, reading from a sworn affidavit police filed about the case.

Kemnitz replied that was correct. And the affidavit said police immediately began a hunt for Russell and found and arrested him Nov. 3

The affidavit offers no motive for the attack, although it notes that the victim’s ex-girlfriend, and now Russell’s current girlfriend, was drinking at the bar the night she was attacked. The victim is quoted as telling police that she did “not have issues” with the other woman or Russell and had no idea why he would want to kill her.

Chief Public Defender Michelle Sanders, on cross-examination, asked Kemnitz if the weapon used had been recovered and was told it had not.

“There is a lot of mention of video surveillance footage, has that been preserved?” Sanders asked. The officer replied that it had been, initially re-recorded by police with their own cameras, but it was understood the bar was going to “burn a copy” for police use.

Russell remains in the custody of the Macon County Jail with bail set at $200,000, requiring him to post a bond of $20,000 to be freed. He is due back in court for a pretrial hearing Dec. 27.

It’s easy to prevent being a victim of car-related thefts. Here are some steps to help prevent your contents from being stolen from your vehicle.


Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid

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