Saturday, December 9, 2023

Assault Charges Against Corrections Officer to be Sent to Grand Jury

The Williamsburg-James City County Courthouse
The Williamsburg-James City County Courthouse

A Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail corrections officer accused of assaulting an inmate had two charges certified Thursday after a preliminary hearing.

Vincent Edward Russell, 42, is facing one count of assault and battery and one count of strangulation after an inmate at VPRJ told police in December 2014 that Russell assaulted and choked him in June 2014. Both charges are felonies.

The alleged incident occurred in a shower room at VPRJ after Russell and a 38-year-old inmate had been verbally sparring for more than 12 hours.

In the preliminary hearing Thursday, the inmate testified Russell had mocked him about his status as a felon and his children being transferred into foster care. The inmate then called Russell slurs and other things he was “not proud of” over the course of the evening and into the next morning.

The next morning around breakfast time, the inmate said Russell ordered a lockdown and for inmates to return to their cells, except for him. Russell began to take him to the intake area of VPRJ, while the inmate continued to swear at Russell.

The inmate testified Russell then tried to trip him by stepping on his feet, but he was able to recover and did not fall. After another verbal taunt at Russell, the inmate said Russell threw him facedown onto the floor of the shower room, punched him in the head twice and choked him with his left hand.

Photos of the inmate’s injuries were taken, including images of a cut to the inmate’s hairline, a red, swollen area on his forehead and red vertical lines on his throat. The inmate testified he received medical treatment for his various wounds consisting of a number of ice packs.

Substitute Judge Robert Pustilnik certified both charges against Russell, sending them to a grand jury, which will determine whether the case moves to trial.

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