Trial for man charged in officer's death moved to Lee County
by Rachael Griffin
rgriffin@annistonstar.com
May 01, 2013 | 10691 views |  0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In these file photos, at right, police search Anniston in 2011 for a suspect in the shooting death of officer Justin Sollohub, (top left). Joshua Eugene Russell (bottom left) was convicted of capital murder in Sollohub's death. (Photo at right by Trent Penny)
In these file photos, at right, police search Anniston in 2011 for a suspect in the shooting death of officer Justin Sollohub, (top left). Joshua Eugene Russell (bottom left) was convicted of capital murder in Sollohub's death. (Photo at right by Trent Penny)
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The trial for Joshua Eugene Russell, accused of killing Anniston police officer Justin Sollohub in 2011, will be held in Lee County in September, a Calhoun County judge said Wednesday.

Calhoun County Circuit Judge Brian Howell said during a status hearing he will visit the Lee County Courthouse next month to coordinate with courthouse staff for the trial.

Online court records show the trial is set to begin on Sept. 9.

Russell, 25, is charged with shooting 27-year-old Sollohub during a foot chase in August 2011. Sollohub died the next day in a Birmingham hospital.

Russell, who attended Wednesday’s hearing, is being held in the Etowah County Jail without bond.

John Robbins, an attorney appointed to represent Russell, said after a previous hearing that a survey would be used to find a county similar in size and demographics to Calhoun County for the new location of the trial.

Howell granted a change of venue in February. The judge made the decision after another survey showed Calhoun County residents had knowledge of the case from following news coverage — knowledge that could prevent Russell from receiving a fair trial.

“Based upon that survey and prevailing case law in the state the judge thought it was prudent at this point to move it,” Robbins said Wednesday.

Russell will be taken to a jail in Lee County shortly before the trial begins, Robbins said.

During the hearing, Robbins said he filed a motion to suppress a radio recording from the Anniston Police Department and the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office made after the shooting occurred. Robbins agreed radio recordings and transcripts could be used as evidence leading up to the shooting and after the signal was given that an “officer was down.” However, the end of the recording, Robbins said, is “not relevant to the charge of capital murder.”

Howell agreed to review the recordings and transcripts and discuss the motion during the next hearing.

The judge also granted a motion to provide Robbins with data collected by psychologist Glen King regarding Russell’s IQ. The data, Robbins said, will be given to a mitigation expert for further study. Mitigation experts are typically responsible for gathering background information and conducting witness interviews for court proceedings.

Howell scheduled another status hearing for June 4 at 2 p.m. to answer questions and address issues before the trial starts in September.

Staff Writer Rachael Griffin: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @RGriffin_Star.

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