An Idaho man allegedly believed that eating human flesh would “cure his brain.”
Investigators say they found a dead man’s body parts in a microwave, and the suspect faces serious charges.
According to court documents obtained by the East Idaho News on Monday, James David Russell, 39, has been charged with felony first-degree murder and felony cannibalism after police discovered his alleged victim tied half-naked in his truck with his penis, one testicle, and a chunk of his thigh missing.
Russell was arrested in early September for the murder of David Flaget, the caretaker of his family’s farm, who was 70 years old.
When police arrested and charged James David Russell with first-degree murder, they found remains in a bowl and blood inside Russell’s microwave matching the victim’s DNA inside his residence.
Subsequently, an autopsy report revealed Flaget died via “blunt force trauma to the head and neck.”
East Idaho News reported that Russell was reportedly in a California mental institution before the alleged murder when he informed his family he wanted to “take parts of his skin off with a knife” to “heal his brain.”
The initial accusations have been upgraded to include cannibalism claims.
Here’s what Law and crime reported:
During a preliminary hearing on Monday, June 13, Bonner County Magistrate Judge Tera A. Harden dismissed the cannibalism charge against James “Jimmy” David Russell, now 40, according to court records. The defendant is still facing the more serious charge of first-degree murder, as defined by Idaho law:
All murder which is perpetrated by means of poison, or lying in wait, or torture, when torture is inflicted with the intent to cause suffering, to execute vengeance, to extort something from the victim, or to satisfy some sadistic inclination, or which is perpetrated by any kind of willful, deliberate and premeditated killing is murder of the first degree.
The case is thought to be the first real use of Idaho’s anti-cannibalism statute since it was enacted in 1990, as Law&Crime previously reported.
During this week’s preliminary hearing, the AP said that a defense attorney asked a detective “if he was aware that Russell was under the care of a psychiatrist, prescribed medication and that he heard imaginary voices.”
The detective reportedly responded that he was “unaware of Russell’s medical history.”
A judge ruled in April that Russell was mentally fit to stand trial, but the court records contain evidence that Russell had a history of psychiatric and mental health issues.
An arraignment in district court is scheduled for June 21.