Idaho Murder Suspect Charged With Eating His Victim ‘To Cure His Brain’
An Idaho man accused of killing a 70-year-old man has now been charged with cannibalism and said that he believed that eating the victim could “cure his brain,” according to court documents.
James David Russell, 39, had already been charged with a first-degree murder charge in the Sept. 10 killing of David Flaget when Bonner County prosecutors amended a criminal complaint.
Authorities found Flaget upside down in the passenger seat of his truck, his wrists duct-taped together with body parts missing according to prosecutors. At the time, Russell fled from sheriff’s deputies and barricaded himself in a garage but was arrested after a brief standoff.
“There’s a lot of facets we will certainly never know,” Bonner County Detective Phillip Stella said last week. “It wasn’t the bloodiest crime scene, but it’s more of the psychological, ‘what the heck is going on here?’ and ‘why am I picking up pieces?’ It’s a walk down the dark path that we don’t see very often.”
Investigators also seized a bloodied microwave, a glass bowl, a bloody knife, and a duffel bag.
Russell claimed to believe that he could “heal himself by cutting off portions of flesh” in order to “cure his brain,” court documents said.
He initially made a statement to authorities, which he repeated, “It’s private property and we don’t like non-family on it.”
“Flaget had several conflict-like run-ins with Russell and told the family about them,” Stella said. “The family had enough warning signs that Mr. Russell was a danger to himself or others.”
An autopsy completed on Sept. 13 confirmed that tissue recovered from Russell’s home belonged to Flaget. Some of his remains have still not been recovered.
“When dealing with death and carnage it’s a shock to our conscience,” said Stella. “As far as I know this is the first cannibalism charge in Idaho.”