Russell Receives The Maximum Penalty - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Russell Receives The Maximum Penalty

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COLFAX, Wash. - A judge sentenced former fugitive Frederick Russell Wednesday to the maximum sentence of 14 years and three months for Vehicular Homicide and Vehicular Assault.

Russell clutched a rosary and apologized to his victims' families in court before Whitman County Superior Court Judge David Frazier issued the sentence Wednesday saying, "you will get the maximum sentence, because you deserve it."

The judge also imposed a requirement that Russell not ever operate a motor vehicle not equipped with an alcohol interlock device. His license will be revoked and he'll be required to receive treatment.

Russell was convicted on November 6 of three counts of vehicular homicide and three counts of vehicular assault in the 2001 crash that killed three Washington State University students and injured three others. He faces 10 to 14 years in prison.

He was accused of being drunk, speeding, and trying to pass in a no-passing zone when his vehicle slammed head-on into another car on State Route 270, the highway between the two college towns of Pullman, Washington and Moscow, Idaho.

After his arrest and release on bail in 2001, Russell fled to Ireland, where he was found in 2005 after making the U.S. Marshals Service's "Most Wanted" list. He was extradited to the United States in 2006, the first time in 20 tries that the Irish government granted a request to extradite someone to the U.S.

The prosecutor in the case, Lana Weinmann, asked for the high end of the sentencing range, 14  years, because of the impact of the deaths on the family and friends of the victims and because Russell fled.

The courtroom was packed with people including family of the victims and members of the media.

The judge asked those present for proper decorum and respect in what he anticipated to be a more lengthy sentencing hearing than usual.

Members of the victim's families took the podium before the sentencing. Stacy Morrow's mother and stepfather were the first of the victims' family members to address the  court. Her stepfather voiced disappointment that Russell was initially let go on $5k bail and spoke of being victimized multiple times saying, "the experience was like having repetitive root canals."

He along with others asked that the court impose consecutive sentences instead of concurrent sentences.

Others that spoke included Stacy's friends Christy Ceder and Cam Johnson, victim Brandon Clement's mother Karen, who spoke of being depressed and suicidal since the accident, and Stacy's father Rich Morrow who asked the judge to impose a lifetime requirement of alcohol interlock device on any car Russell drives.

Two surviving victims of the crash told the court how they still suffer from their injuries.

Several people including Russell's mother, aunt, and former boss, spoke to the judge on behalf of Russell's character. His mother asked that he be placed in a minimum security facility so he could continue to work and contribute to society.

His defense attorney asked the judge to impose a sentence from the lower spectrum of possible punishment.

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