UPDATE — 5:15 p.m. Friday, March 4, 2016 (EST)
After an eight day trial, 26-year-old Brittany Lyn Russell was found not guilty.
“This was the correct verdict. From the minute we started this trial, from the moment we first met Brittany Russell 18 months ago, me and my law partner, Karl Numinen, were thoroughly convinced of her innocence,” said attorney for the defense, Keith W. DeForge, “This a case where justice has prevailed and they came back with the right verdict.”
She was accused of felony murder in the death of a three–month old infant. Russell was babysitting the child, known as Penny Ann. The infant died in 2014.
Russell was not charged in the death of the infant until 2015, when Iron County Prosecutor Melissa Powell filed felony murder charges against Russell.
Karl Numinen is Powell’s attorney in this case. After closing arguments were made by both the prosecution and defense this morning, the jury headed into deliberation this afternoon.
The jury was given four potential options for the case: first–degree felony murder, second–degree felony murder, child abuse and not guilty.
She was found not guilty.
CRYSTAL FALLS — The trial for a woman charged with felony murder in relation to the death of a 3–month–old infant in 2014 is drawing near to a conclusion. ABC 10’s Caleb Scanlon brings us the latest on the Brittany Russell trial in Crystal Falls.
The trial of people of the state of Michigan V. Brittany Russell is winding down. On Wednesday afternoon, Iron County Prosecuting Attorney Melissa Powell rested. Russell’s Defense Attorney Karl Numinen began his list of witnesses afterward.
On Thursday, the jury heard from Biomechanical Engineer Dr. Chris VanEe.
Dr. VanEe has done a considerable amount of work in the field of car and air travel safety including forces necessary to cause injury in an effort to develop better crash test dummies.
During testimony, he gave his opinion on whether or not the injuries sustained by three–month–old Penny Anne *COULD* have been sustained by one of the other children.
“I don’t know what occurred in this case,” said Biomechanical Engineer Dr. Chris VanEe, “I don’t have an opinion about her. I have an opinion that says if the things that Riley said occurred that could be responsible for this head injury. What actually happened; I don’t know. Injury at the hand of somebody else, from an engineer standpoint that seems like abuse. But from the evidence I’ve given I see no evidence that it was Ms. Russell that did it.”
Later the jury heard from Dr. Ljubisa Dragovic, who is a Forensic Pathologist and Medical Examiner. Dr. Dragovic went over his uncertainty of every possibility being considered.
“When I got the additional materials I started reviewing the c.d.’s, video re–enactment and questions came up,” said Forensic Pathologist and Medical Examiner Dr. Ljubisa Dragovic, “and this is exactly what a Medical Examiner must do. The Medical Examiner cannot blindly go through things. A Medical Examiner has to carefully consider all of the information that is available.”
The trial will continue on Friday.