[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
FROM THE ASHLEY COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 02CR-18-30],
HONORABLE ROBERT BYNUM GIBSON, JR., JUDGE
E. Tellez, North Little Rock, for appellant.
Rutledge, Atty Gen., by: Joseph Karl Luebke, Asst Atty
Gen., for appellee.
M. BROWN, Judge
Appellant Brian Russell was convicted by an Ashley County
Circuit Court jury of first-degree murder, abuse of a corpse,
and felon in possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to
serve an aggregate term of seventy years incarceration in
the Arkansas Department of Correction. On appeal, appellant
argues that the circuit court abused its discretion by
excluding from evidence (1) photographs of certain items
found in the victims purse and (2) lay-witness testimony
regarding the victims life and mental state. We affirm.
testified that on January 13, 2018, he and the victim,
Shannon Ridener, went on a blind date. He stated that after
purchasing liquor, Shannon agreed to go to his home to watch
a movie. Appellant testified that he fell asleep during the
movie and was awakened by a "bang." He further
testified that upon seeing Shannons body on the floor with a
gunshot wound to her head, he exclaimed, "Oh, my god,
what did you do that for?" and then proceeded to get rid
of her body as fast as he could.
Officer David Crutchfield of the Monticello Police Department
testified that at approximately 1:45 a.m. on January 14,
2018, he came into contact with appellant and ultimately took
him into custody on a charge of driving while intoxicated.
Officer Crutchfield stated that at the time of the arrest,
appellant had blood on his hands and clothes; however,
appellant explained that the blood was from a deer he had
killed. David Tumey with the Arkansas State Police testified
that when he searched appellants vehicle, he discovered a
black trash bag containing a pair of womens shoes.
Additionally, Bo Norris with the Arkansas State Police
Criminal Investigation Division testified that upon searching
appellants house, a large stain was found on the carpet; he
noted that the stain appeared to have some type of cleaning
product on it.
Norris testified that Shannons body was located near the
Beech Creek bridge. He further indicated that it was a
thirty-six-mile drive from appellants house to where
Shannons purse was found; it was an additional eleven miles
from where her purse was discovered to where Shannons body
appeal, appellant concedes his convictions for felon in
possession of a firearm and abuse of a corpse; however, he
that he did not commit murder. Appellant contends that
Shannon committed suicide and that the circuit court abused
its discretion by excluding evidence ...