Judge ‘merciful’ over brutal brother assault

| 30/07/2015 | 25 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands courts

(CNS): Easton Rudolph Russell (50) was sentenced to four years imprisonment Wednesday, following his conviction in April for the unlawful wounding of his brother, Carlos Renton Russell, in a brutal, but provoked, machete attack. Justice Malcolm Swift described the jail term as a “merciful one”, with mitigating circumstances weighed against violence so fierce that it was “a miracle” his brother had survived “with his head still attached to his body”.

Justice Swift said that in his 45 year-long career in the justice system he had only rarely seen such violence that did not result in a murder charge, as he outlined the severity and number of serious head and body injuries Russell’s older brother sustained, many of which have long-term and severe consequences.

The court heard that because of an intense ongoing feud, Easton Russell had gone to his brother’s house on the 4 November last year in Pease Bay, Bodden Town, where the two men, both armed with machetes, began to fight.

But the judge said the CCTV footage of the attack showed it was the defendant who was the aggressor and he had gone on to chop and chop at Carlos Russell as he fell to the ground. As Carlos crawled towards his front door, Easton continued after him chopping at his head, neck and upper body a further eleven times before he walked away from the violent scene. Russell then called 911 and told the operator, “I think I have killed my brother.”

Despite the severity of the attack and the extensive injuries sustained by the 52-year-old man, he survived, albeit with a host of ongoing physical problems and outstanding medical treatment that, the court heard, he needs but cannot afford.

Russell’s “merciful sentence” was reflective of the sustained harassment and serious threats that the younger brother and his entire family had suffered for some time leading up to the morning when he had snapped.

Although leading very different lives, the brothers had once been close. Easton Russell was described as a hard-working committed, law-abiding, family man who had been with his wife for 26 years, with a 15-year-old son and 21-year-old daughter.

His brother, on the other hand, had lived a violent life on the wrong side of the law. In March 2006, Carlos Russell was convicted of manslaughter and jailed for eleven years after killing Philip Watler at the Cayman Islands Hospital in an infamous gang-related shooting.

While the older Russell brother was in HMP Northward, the men’s father became ill and died and they fell out over the kind of medical treatment that he received. The bad blood stretched on, and when the older Russell was released from jail in 2012, having served just over half of his sentence, the feud intensified.

Carlos Russell made numerous threats to his young brother, including threatening to kill his wife and children. Despite repeated reports to the RCIPS, the police appeared not to take the threats seriously, even though Carol Russell was well-known to the police and had a string of convictions for violence and involvement with guns. On one occasion the police had listed a complaint that Carlos Russell had threatened to shoot his brother’s entire family as a civil dispute because of their relationship.

The constant threats and harassment caused significant worry and emotional distress to Easton Russell’s family and with the perception that the police were not taking him seriously, tensions increased. When on the morning of the 4 November Easton was told by his son that Carlos had called him, threatening his father, the situation became out of control. After an effort to settle the dispute on the phone without success, Easton headed for his brother’s house.

Although he had a machete in his car, he denied deliberately taking the weapon to commit a premeditated act. However, when he arrived and saw his brother in the yard holding a machete, he ran the vehicle towards him and mowed him down. He then leapt out of the car with the weapon in hand and struck the first blows.

The CCTV showed the younger brother chopping at Carlos, who used his weapon mostly defensively but soon dropped it. Even though Carlos tried to escape the wrath of his brother, Easton continued the violent and brutal attack. But after walking away, he immediately called the authorities and revealed his crime and did not resist police when they arrived and apprehended him.

The court heard that Easton Russell was genuinely remorseful in the immediate wake of the attack on his brother, and although the men remain estranged, the younger Russell remains hopeful that there is still a chance of reconciliation. If he was not facing a custodial sentence, he would have wanted to help his brother with his medical costs, said his defence attorney, Laurence Aiolfi from Samson and McGrath.

The judge started with a nine-year sentence, increasing it to ten because of the severity of the violence, but because of the degree of provocation beforehand, the threats to his family, his previous good character and productive contribution to society, as well as his secure and strong family life, the judge reduced the sentence to six years. Justice Swift also gave Easton Russell a one-third discount for his guilty plea, arriving at a four-year jail term.

Russell has served several months on remand ahead of his sentencing hearing and the judge said that time in custody would be counted against his sentence, but given the custodial sentence, no compensation was ordered. Following his ruling, Russell remained calm and appeared to accept the sentence as fair, as he bid farewell to his wife and was taken into custody.

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Comments (25)

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  1. Cassey says:

    Carlos (Screechy) should not have been given treatment at GT Hospital as killed a man there years ago and should still be in jail as he still continue to live a gangster lifestyle at age 52 with young boys who could be his grandchildren taking orders from him. Screechy should find a job instead of driving up and down the road looking trouble with decent people and stop acting as if he is the badest man on the block. He was always this way when we worked together in the 80s and never kept a steady job only wanted easy money…….

  2. Anonymous says:

    What terrible provocation. Most men are capable of being goaded towards serious violence where the defense of their family is the issue. Like in the Wild West 150 or 200 years ago. But the civilised world has police and courts to prevent this kind of thing building up. Easton Russel was badly let down it seems.

  3. Ron says:

    Everywhere else in the world when the police fail the public either the commissioner is fired or individual police officers who failed to complete their duties are tried, prosecuted and sued. Why should cayman be any different?

  4. Anonymous says:

    If the police took action after the reports of the threats came in maybe this violent behavior could have been avoided! Especially knowing the background of the older Easton!! its ridiculous!!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I say: Sue the RCIPS

  6. NoMo ADHD says:

    This poor, law-abiding man had his and his family’s lives threatened on more than one occasion and the police didn’t bother dealing with it. In another article you have David Baines weeping that nobody wants to testify, blah blah blah. Here is a perfect example as to why people don’t testify – because the police sit on their fat a$$es and do nothing when something is brought to their attention. They’ll arrest Sandra on charges of “kidnapping” a little doggie, but threatening people’s lives is fine and dandy. No wonder people are disgusted with the police.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Please note all of you who like to keep saying these violent crimes are the result of “foreign nationals”, some of us older teachers taught both these guys from the time they were little boys and they are 1000% Caymanian. Sorry ’bout dat.

    • hafoo says:

      That goes to show how much you know.These boys are Jamaican,who came to Cayman as young boys.Tek dat

      • Anonymous says:

        So it was the Cayman environment and values, including entitlement mentality, that led them astray. Ah so it go.

        • Anonymous says:


          • Anonymous says:

            I guess “genes” applies to the athletes/sportspersons over the years that we just love to call Caymanian when they are very successful in international competition but who in fact are more Jamaican than anything else when it comes to “genes”..

        • Anonymous says:

          Environment includes your yard.

      • Anonymous says:

        So why has Carlos not been deported? He has been a criminal for years. The law says he should have had his status revoked (if he has it) and end of story.

    • Anonymous says:

      You might have added, 8:40, that they were not that badly behaved when they were youngsters, especially Easton. It was later after they left school that things seem to have gone wrong, especially with Carlos. Until this recent attack.

    • Anonymous says:

      How as Mr. Easton Russell’s behaviour as a student in the days that you and/or others taught him?

      • Anonymous says:

        Easton Russell’s behavior was unremarkable when he was a student, not perfect but NOTHING like what goes on today routinely in the public school system and not like his violent actions in attacking Carlos. I understand he was also a decent, stable employee of PWD for a while too.

      • Marcia says:

        I went to school with Carlos from the time he came to Cayman and I can tell you that he was one of the worse students in our time. All those so called teachers that said they taught him should say that he attended school because he didn’t learn anything so they couldn’t have taught him. He was disruptive and fought all the time. Teachers and students alike were afraid of him and so he was just tolerated and over looked by those same self righteous teachers who now have the face to claim that he was Cayman grown. He came to Cayman as a bad egg and even had the deep Jamaican accent to go with it, an accent so deep along with the speech impairment along with the bad genes and criminal mind and bad attitude, hardly anyone could understand him. Well maybe those teachers did so now they should blame themselves for not helping him instead of blaming the Caymanian society for his downfall.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you are a teacher and you know that they are Caymanians, it’s a wonder any of your students learnt under your tutelage. They came here as children.

      • Anonymous says:

        Legally, they were Caymanians 5:31, and we teachers taught everyone, Caymanians and expats, with the same professionalism but I would not expect you and your bigoted nasty friends posting on here to understand that.

    • Anonymous.countryside says:

      These men are Jamaican born criminals that’s why in cayman you fear to even to outside of your house to walk your dog.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The police should have taken the threats seriously! They are to blame for this.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeh 2.17 I bet the police started the feud and encouraged elder brother in a life of violent crime. The police should perhaps of taken the threats more seriously but the fight was one waiting to happen.

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