Punishment Phase Begins In Russeau Case - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/08/02

Punishment Phase Begins In Russeau Case

   Damaging testimony as Gregory Russeau's trial moves into the punishment phase. Evidence not allowed in trial was presented to a Smith County jury Tuesday.

   The defendant stayed unemotional as District Attorneys showed records, which indicate Russeau's been in and out of jail for a decade. Russeau's record includes felony burglary convictions as well as several misdemeanor charges.

   Smith County prison administrator Captain Gary Pinkerton took the stand to discuss Russeau's conduct as an inmate. Russeau left Smith County jail just four months before James Syverston was found dead.

   Prison records say guards found weapons, including razor blades and a twelve-inch bar, inside Russeau's cell on separate occasions. Assistant District Attorney Matt Bingham read a letter from a guard who warned prison officials about Russeau's disruptive behavior.

   "Inmate Russeau is becoming entirely too brave, read Bingham. "He is also becoming assaultive--there's no reason we officers should have to put up with this every day. Someone is going to get hurt."

   Defense Attorneys countered the reports, mentioning Russeau was once a prison trustee and had only two formal disciplinary hearings while incarcerated.

   It's expected the jury may not begin deliberations until Wednesday afternoon or Thursday. More witnesses will be called to the stand, including the victim's family.

   Russeau is convicted of killing 75-year old James Syverston at his auto repair business last year.

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