Rantz: Democrats quietly releasing murderers from jail, showing no concern

Sep 12, 2022, 5:48 PM | Updated: Sep 13, 2022, 9:19 am
Roy Wayne Russell (Associated Press)
(Associated Press)

Through a series of laws, Washington Democrats have given the state’s most dangerous criminals a chance at freedom. They are effectively releasing murderers without any remorse.

The latest degenerate to get out of jail early is a man who murdered a 14-year-old girl after she fought his attempted rape. Democrats passed a bill knowing it would help this monster. It will be the second time he’s escaped a life sentence.

But Democrats don’t want to speak about what they’re doing ahead of the midterms. Indeed, one lawmaker’s communications director asked a reporter to check back after the election for a comment.

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Roy Russell will be out of jail early

Roy Russell murdered Chelsea Harrison at a party with underage kids drinking and doing drugs which he hosted at his Vancouver duplex. First, Russell tried to rape Harrison, but she fought back. Then, he beat and strangled her to death.

Russell was convicted of second-degree murder in 2005. Previously, he was convicted of robbery and arson, making this third felony conviction eligible for sentencing under Washington’s three-strike law. It meant life in prison, but he had Democrats on his side.

Washington Democrats who passed two laws helping Russell and other dangerous criminals.

In 2019, Democrats passed SB 5288, which removed second-degree robbery from the list of felonies subject to the state’s three strikes law. In 2021, they made the previous move retroactive with SB 5164.

Second time he gets out of life in prison

Retroactively applying SB 5288 means Russell, now 61 years old, is no longer subject to the state’s three-strike sentencing. A new judge will now review the case and resentence the murderer.

With over 16 years served, he may be released within four years or sooner if the judge gives Russell credit for purported good behavior, according to KGW TV.

Only after these laws passed did Russell admit to the murder. He blamed, in part, an abusive father, according to the Colombian. His resentencing hearing has not yet been set.

This won’t be the first time he’s escaped a life sentence.

When Russell was convicted of arson in 1998, he had already been found guilty of robbery and kidnapping in Arizona. He was sentenced to life in prison because of the state’s three strikes law.

But the judge erred in his decision.

Arizona’s felony kidnapping law only translated to Washington’s second-degree kidnapping. Consequently, Russell was released from prison in 2001.

Democrats continue to go light-on-crime

Russell is one of at least 64 criminals to benefit from this Democrat law and lawmakers knew it would help at the time. Republicans did their part to push back.

Senator Mike Padden (R-Spokane Valley) proposed to exempt criminals if the robbery conviction was not the most recent offense that contributed to the three strikes sentencing. Senator Brad Klippert (R-Kennewick) offered an amendment that gives a prosecutor and judge more discretion in resentencing, rather than forcing it. Senator Judy Warnick (R-Moses Lake) asked this bill be referred to a statewide referendum vote.

Democrats rebuffed all Republican amendments. They saw this as an equity issue.

During public testimony, activists claimed that second-degree robbery charges have “disparate” impacts on the Black community. They effectively argued that Black people are more likely to commit this crime and, thus, will be more likely to be subject to three strikes sentencing if they commit other felonies. One public commenter even claimed punishing second-degree robbery “criminalize(s) black people.”

They don’t argue that Black people are falsely accused of second-degree robbery or that white people are committing the crime, but are not punished. They’re simply upset that more Black people are caught committing the crime and it’s unfair to punish them.

Washington is actively releasing criminals

Whether it’s via a law or our far-left Supreme Court, Democrats are moving quickly to release as many criminals from jail as possible.

Brian Bassett was sentenced to life in jail for murdering his parents and 5-year-old brother in 2005. But because Bassett was 16-years-old at the time, he’s being released early. The state Supreme Court says teens don’t have fully formed brains until they’re older, so it’s unfair to assume they truly understand brutal murder is wrong. They’re only capable of gender reassignment surgery — without parental consent — at that age.

At 20-years-old, Arthur Longworth murdered a young woman in Seattle and dumped her body in Snohomish County. A judge just reduced his sentence from life without parole to 30 years. He’s slated to be released soon.

When the Supreme Court found our felony drug possession law unconstitutional, Democrats refused to fix the law. Instead, they decriminalized drug use. Now, murderers who were popped for felony drug charges are being resentenced. It’s tormenting the families of their victims.

Here’s who is responsible

Every Democrat voted in favor of the bill.

The state senators who sponsored it are Mona Das (D-Kent), Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue), Bob Hasegawa (D-Seattle), Marko Liias (D-Everett), Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle), Jesse Salomon (D-Shoreline) and Claire Wilson (D-Federal Way). Its main sponsor, Tacoma’s Jeannie Darneille, no longer serves as a representative in the legislature.

None of the lawmakers responsible for Russell walking early responded to requests for comment.

A spokesperson for Sen. Kuderer told another reporter covering this story that they’re too busy campaigning for re-election to offer a comment.

What you must do

The prosecutors in the Roy Russell case will reportedly ask for the maximum sentence — 30 years. But it’s not a guarantee that a judge will listen. It’s up to everyone reading this to shine a spotlight on this case to make sure the judge knows we’re watching.

But it’s also on you to step up and demand an end to the Democrats’ abolitionist mindset. You’ll have an opportunity in November to send a clear message.

Democrats say we overincarcerated in the 80s and 90s, so now they’re underincarcerating. We are less safe as a result.

They get away with these bills because they talk about them in the abstract. They claim “BIPOC” communities are impacted the most. And they say it’s young Black boys, in particular, who suffer the most. They effectively demand white liberals feel guilty for punishing criminals who happen to be black. As if anyone should feel guilty for punishing criminals, regardless of their color.

But can a single Democrat vouch for Roy Russell? Can they defend releasing this criminal? They should be put on the spot and asked to defend this particular case. They’re responsible. And if Russell is released early and kills again? Democrats will have even more blood on their hands.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3–6 pm on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast. Follow @JasonRantz on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

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Rantz: Democrats quietly releasing murderers from jail, showing no concern