Trial George Russell Jr.: 1991
Petty Thief Turned Murderer, Troubled Youth, A Serial Murderer On Mercer Island, Authorities Zero In On Russell
Defendant: George Walterfield Russell, Jr.
Crimes Charged: Murder
Chief Defense Lawyers: Miriam Schwartz, Brad Hampton
Chief Prosecutors: Rebecca Roe, Jeffrey Baird
Judge: Patricia Aitken
Place: Seattle, Washington
Date of Trial: September 13-October 18, 1991
Sentence: Life in prison without parole
SIGNIFICANCE: Winning a conviction in Washington State's first serial-murder trial ultimately depended on convincing jurors that the degrading pose of all three murder victims constituted the unique "signature" of a single sociopathic killer.
Folks around wealthy Mercer Island, Washington, just couldn't dislike good old George. Sure, he'd crash your pad, "borrow" your car for days on end, relieve you of a few treasured items. But then he'd turn around and cook you a gourmet dinner, treat your friends to a round of drinks, and give you earnest, religion-tinged advice. All this was done with a big smile, a hug, and silky smooth assurances that "it's cool, hon."
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