Second tests show man ingested bath salts prior to double stabbing

Becky Campbell • Jan 7, 2013 at 10:02 PM

When initial lab results showed no synthetic drugs in a Johnson City man’s system after he was arrested for killing his grandmother and seriously injuring his grandfather in December 2011, his attorney asked for more tests.

During a hearing Monday, attorney Debbie Lonon told a judge that the second forensic tests did show her client, Cody Russell, 21, had ingested bath salts prior to the double stabbing.

Judge Robert Cupp said the issue now is getting those results interpreted.

Russell — charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder — is accused of killing his grandmother, Frieda Russell, 62, and seriously injuring his grandfather, Clifford Russell, 65, with the same knife.

It happened around 5 p.m. Dec. 8, 2011, in the family’s apartment, 512 Swadley Road, Apt. 9.

Cody Russell is the elderly couple’s grandson, but they had adopted him as an infant, according to police.

He fled from the scene after the stabbings, but later returned while investigators were still there.

During the investigation, police said empty synthetic drug packages were found in Russell’s bedroom in the family’s apartment.

After Russell’s arrest, investigators took a blood sample to test for drugs, but none were found.

“Ms. Lonon insisted they retest that blood and the TBI can’t do the testing so they had to farm it out of state,” Cupp said. “The results are back that shows there were synthetic drugs in his system. The problem is interpretation.”

Cupp reset Russell’s case for March 4 to hear any motions the defense may file after obtaining an analysis of the lab results.

Russell remains jailed under $250,000 bond.

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