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Trial George Russell Jr.: 1991

A Serial Murderer On Mercer Island

When three murdered Bellevue nightclub habitues turned up within two months in the summer of 1990, some, including an ex-girlfriend whom he had beaten after his move to Bellevue, quickly suspected Russell.

The first victim was Mary Ann Pohlreich. Her obviously posed, nude body was found beside a McDonald's restaurant dumpster. Her left foot was crossed over her right ankle, her hands lay over her stomach, clutching a fir cone, as if she were lying in a coffin. An autopsy showed she had been brutally beaten, choked and kicked so hard that her liver had split against her spinal column. She had been raped after her death, a victim of a "sadistic necrophile."

Seven weeks later, the ex-husband of Carol Marie Bleethe found her battered body in the bed of her East Bellevue home. This time the killer showed thought, imagination, and improvisation. Bleethe, mother of two young daughters who were at home when she was murdered, had been struck repeatedly in the head with a weapon. It had sliced her ear and left 13 distinctive Y shapes on her body. She had been bitten and kicked with such ferocity that two broken ribs penetrated the chest cavity. Her head was bound in a plastic drycleaning bag.

Although she had been "blitzed" in her sleep, her body lay nude except for red high heels. The killer had positioned her on her king-sized bed so that her crotch faced the bedroom door. He had inserted a Savage. 22 long rifle that Bleethe kept under the bed five and a half inches into her vagina. Her favorite diamond ring was missing. Friends later testified that Russell cut pictures of the first two victims—whom he called "skanky sluts"—from the newspaper, taped them to the wall, and bragged that police would not find their killer.

The third body, that of Andrea "Randi" Levine, turned up on September 3, 1990. She too had been "blitzed" in her sleep. The killer had savagely beaten her with an aluminum baseball bat, spraying the room with blood. Her spreadlegged body was stabbed and covered from scalp to the bottom of her feet with 231 small knife wounds, some in patterns. They appeared to have been inflicted after death in an uncommon necrophilic perversion known as "picquerism." A plastic vibrator had been stuffed into her mouth. She held a copy of More Joy of Sex under her left arm. Her brains leaked out onto the bed.

The killer had wiped down the bat and taken every knife from the house. Police theorized he had used a kitchen knife to violate his victim, then taken them so that the real weapon used in the picquerism couldn't be identified. The victim's favorite amethyst ring was missing.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1989 to 1994Trial George Russell Jr.: 1991 - Petty Thief Turned Murderer, Troubled Youth, A Serial Murderer On Mercer Island, Authorities Zero In On Russell