Steven Russell is not a violent man. He is not a rapist, murderer, drug-dealer or gangbanger. He has never employed weapons or fear tactics in the commission of his crimes. Rather, he has always relied solely upon his incredible intellect and uncanny ability to read and manipulate people. His victims? Largely foodservice companies guilty themselves of defrauding American military institutions and school systems. Russell is now serving a sentence of 144 years in a Texas State Penitentiary. At this point, his expected date of release is July 12, 2140. In contrast, Chris Brashear, convicted of the premeditated triple murder of a Texas family returning home from dinner, will likely be released in 2037. His accomplice, Steve Champagne, is expected to be released in 2022. Texan Derek Norwood, an adult convicted in Feb. 2010 of physically restraining and forcing sexual intercourse on an unwilling 16 year-old girl, received a sentence of only 4 years. In light of this (and the gross overcrowding of Texas prisons), Russell's sentence can only be viewed as a cruel and petty retaliation for a brilliant (and NONVIOLENT) series of escapes that left the Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice humiliated. Are his crimes to be excused due to their nonviolent nature and impersonal victims? Not necessarily. But his sentence is excessive. A man of Steven Russell's intelligence should not be confined to a dank Texas prison for the rest of his life. It is time that the TCDJ come to their senses and FREE STEVEN RUSSELL!!!
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