Jury recommends life without parole for Joshua Russell - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Jury recommends life without parole for Joshua Russell

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Joshua Russell at a recent court appearance. Source: WBRC video Joshua Russell at a recent court appearance. Source: WBRC video
Anniston police officer Justin Sollohub Anniston police officer Justin Sollohub
Joshua Russell's mugshot. Joshua Russell's mugshot.
LEE COUNTY, AL (WBRC) -

A jury in Lee County has voted 8-4 to give Joshua Russell, the man convicted of killing an Anniston police officer, a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

On Monday, the jury found Russell guilty of murdering Anniston police officer Justin Sollohub in August 2011. Sollohub was shot in the head after chasing Russell on foot.

The prosecution asked for the death penalty in the case, but Russell's attorney John Robbins asked for life without parole.

"We will continue to seek the death penalty from the court," Calhoun County District Attorney Brian McVeigh said after hearing the jury's decision.

Calhoun County Circuit Judge Brian Howell will have the final say in Russell's sentencing.

The Anniston Police Department said on their Facebook page that the judge will make his final decision in a few weeks.

Anniston Police Chief Shane Denham was one of several Anniston officers who attended the trial in Lee County as a show of support.

"I'm a little disappointed with the recommendation for life without parole," Denham said.

"However, it is a recommendation, and it goes to the judge's hands…I think he'll (Judge Brian Howell) make a fair and just decision, but whatever he decides, we'll live with it, whichever way it goes."

Chief Denham said when he first heard the recommendation for life without parole, he felt queasy in his stomach.

"My heart goes out to the family. I can't imagine what Jenniffer and Byron are feeling right now. And I just hope they take some comfort in knowing that no matter what happens, Joshua Russell is going to spend the rest of his days in prison," Denham said.

The case was moved to Opelika in Lee County due to pretrial publicity and in an effort to find a jury that had not heard much about the murder.

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