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Marion County man to be sentenced to 25 years for 2012 death of infant son

Christopher E. Russell (Contributed Photo)

Christopher E. Russell (Contributed Photo)

Update — 10/4/16 @ 11:38am:

The Sequatchie, TN man that was convicted in August of second-degree murder and aggravated child abuse in the 2012 death of his 3-month-old son Colin was sentenced Tuesday in a Jasper court to 25 years in prison.

Judge Thomas “Rusty” Graham sentenced Christopher E. Russell, age 27, to 25 years on each of the two convictions with both sentences to be served concurrently, or at the same time.

Assistant District Attorney Steve Strain told the Chattanooga Times Free Press after the hearing that he was satisfied with the outcome, saying it’s a substantial sentence.

Russell must serve 85 percent of the sentence — more than 21 years — before he becomes eligible to seek parole.

William Bullock, the attorney for Russell, asked Judge Graham for a date to file a motion for a new trial. The judge has set a date on that hearing for Feb. 16, 2017.

We’ll continue to follow any other developments on this story as it happens…


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Christopher Eugene Russell will be sentenced on Tuesday in the 2012 death of his 3-month-old infant son in Jasper.

Russell was convicted of second-degree murder and aggravated child abuse by a jury in August for the battering death of Colin Russell.

The sentencing, originally scheduled for September, was delayed due to a conflict and was reset for Tuesday, October 4th at 9am CDT.

The investigation of abuse began on June 17th, 2012, when the infant stopped breathing at his home in Sequatchie, Tennessee. The infant was taken to Grandview Medical Center in Jasper and then transferred to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville.

Investigators interviewed staff who treated Colin at Vanderbilt before the infant died on June 17th, 2012 when the family decided to stop life support. Russell has been a person of interest since the beginning of investigations; however, he wasn’t charged until August 2014 when he was arrested on a fugitive-from-justice warrant in Georgia.

Russell was found guilty after a three-day trial before Marion County Circuit Court Judge Thomas “Rusty” Graham after testimonies from the baby’s mother, Leah Collins, other family members, and medical officials. Russell did not testify.

Jurors returned the guilty verdict after less than two hours of deliberation.

According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press (bit.ly/2dqaiqz), of those who testified in the trial was the associate medical examiner in the investigation, Dr. Bridget B. Eutenier, who listed the cause of death as homicide in a 12-page autopsy report that noted contusions on the infant’s head and injuries that included blood clotting in several areas of his brain as well as extensive hemorrhaging in the optic nerves of both eyes.

The report also made note that the baby had at least 15 fractured ribs and a fractured right clavicle as well as ligament injury on his spine.

Russell has remained in custody at the Marion County Justice Center in Jasper prior to sentencing.

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Permanent link to this article: https://marioncountymessenger.com/2016/10/marion-county-man-to-be-sentenced-in-2012-death-of-infant-son/