Slaying court date set for Jan. 7

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 10, 2002

The arraignment of a Wilsonville man indicted in connection with a September traffic accident has been postponed until January.

Shelby County Assistant District Attorney Bill Bostick said the arraignment of Charles Christopher Russell of Wilsonville was set for Dec. 5.

However, Bostick said, as Russell showed up for his arraignment without an attorney, a public defender was appointed and the arraignment was postponed until Jan. 7.

He said Russell is expected to enter a plea of not guilty.

Columbiana Police Chief Michael Lann said Russell, 19 at the time of the accident, was indicted in November for

the death of John Wood, 21, of Columbiana in

connection with an accident that occurred on Sept. 20, 2002.

According to Lann, the accident occurred on Shelby County Highway 28 (Ferry Road) between Lynn Drive and Beacon Road in Columbiana at about 10:30 p.m. that Friday.

But, he said, &uot;evidence of the accident lay unnoticed until the following morning when officers found the vehicle in a deep ditch covered by foliage over the vehicle.&uot;

Lann said Wood was pronounced dead at Shelby Baptist Hospital at about 11 a.m. the following Sunday.

He said the death was most likely the result of injuries from the accident.

Lann said at the time, the case remained under investigation and that his department was &uot;looking into the possibility that alcohol may have been involved.&uot;

He also said at the time that another individual, Russell, was involved in the accident and that all information would be turned over to the Shelby County District Attorney for presentation to a grand jury.

Bostick said Russell was &uot;indicted for murder based on the fact that he was under the influence of alcohol that caused the death of the passenger.&uot;