Jury selection to begin for Russell trial

Published 3:48 pm Friday, November 5, 2010

By KATIE HURST/ Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA — Jury selection will begin Monday, Nov. 8 for the murder trial of Ryan Gerald Russell, 37, of Inverness.

According to court documents, Russell will stand trial before Circuit Court Judge Michael Joiner.

Russell is charged with killing 11-year-old Katherine Helen Gillespie in June 2008.



According to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Gillespie died the same day the suspect and the girl were traveling in a Cadillac Escalade when it collided with a green truck on Inverness Parkway.

After the collision, the occupants of the green truck followed Russell and Gillespie to the suspect’s house at 5048 Kerry Downs Road, and saw Gillespie retrieve a garbage can from Russell’s driveway before entering the residence.

Officers responded to Russell’s residence shortly after the collision, but left after they were unable to make contact with Russell.

Russell’s ex-wife and her boyfriend later arrived at Russell’s residence and saw the damaged Escalade before the boyfriend called 911.

When authorities arrived they found what appeared to be Gillespie’s body in a garbage can in the back of the Escalade.

Sheriff’s deputies entered the residence and found Russell laying in the fetal position in his shower.

After performing an autopsy, authorities concluded Gillespie had been sexually abused and died of a .40-caliber gunshot wound to the head.

Russell is currently being held in the Shelby County Jail without bond on capital murder charges.