Court: Witness threatened rape suspect with shotgun during alleged assault

tstevens@ledger-enquirer.comDecember 13, 2013 

Joshua Russell

When the host of a house party woke to find Joshua C. Russell allegedly raping an unconscious girl, he hit him with the butt of a shotgun, according to court testimony.

Russell, 24, faced a rape charge during a Friday morning Recorder's Court hearing.

A detective told the court that she was called to Midtown Medical Center on Nov. 23 in reference to an alleged rape. The woman told police that her friend, the host of the party, informed her that morning that he found Russell raping her while she was unresponsive in the living room.

The last thing she said she remembered was going to sleep in that friend's bed at about 2:30 a.m., while he slept on the floor. She woke to soreness in her pelvic area, among other problems, the detective said. After her mother urged her to go to police, she went to the emergency room to have evidence collected.

The host of the party, who was the only occupant the detective said returned requests for interviews, told police the he assisted her to the bathroom at about 3 a.m. after she woke up. He went back to bed and later woke to sounds in the living room. Fearing an intruder, he grabbed a shotgun and went to investigate.

After reportedly finding Russell on top of the woman, he hit him in the head with the butt of the gun and demanded he get off her. He then took Russell into a bedroom to ask questions about what was happening, since the victim was unresponsive when he tried to talk to her. When Russell could not provide satisfactory answers to his questions, he demanded Russell leave.

Later, Russell came back to the home to get his cellphone and other personal belongings. The host then allegedly punched him in the face, detectives said.

Attorney Stacey Jackson, who acted as Russell's defense, asked the host and the victim repeated questions about how much they had been drinking, whether her boyfriend was present at the house, why there were no other women in the house, why she had not immediately reported the incident to police and why the host did not call 911 after apprehending Russell. He also affirmed with the host that the woman did not scream or cry for help during the incident. The interrogation lasted for about 15 minutes.

During the hearing, Judge Michael Cielinski cut short one barrage of questions in which Jackson went through each part of narrative and asked the victim why she didn't remember the events.

The prosecution did not ask any questions of Russell.

After Cielinski cut Jackson's questions short, Jackson asked that Cielinski drop the case, claiming that the incident did not meet the burden of proof for rape because "Georgia Code 16-6-1 requires the rape to be forcible and against her will."

"I will not drop the charges because of the level of intoxication," Cielinski said.

Cielinski set no bond for Russell's charge. His case will be forwarded Muscogee County Superior Court.

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