Man accused of murdering neighbors before cooking and eating his body parts

Authorities in Idaho, in the US, say James David Russell has been found mentally fit to stand trial on charges of murder and alleged cannibalism against David Flaget

James David Russell is considered to be
James David Russell is said to be “mentally fit” to stand trial

A cannibal who allegedly cooked and ate a man’s body parts could be executed after psychiatrists ruled him sane and fit to stand trial.

Authorities in Idaho, US, were shocked when the case first surfaced last year.

Since then, a series of mental evaluations have taken place until it was finally determined that he wasn’t insane.

The Bonn County Daily Bee reports the man faces first-degree murder and cannibalism charges.

James David Russell, 40, has been found mentally fit to stand trial on charges relating to the September 10 murder and alleged cannibalism of David Flaget.

The newspaper reports that as of Oct. 7, Russell involuntarily joined the Idaho Security Medical Program, which is an offshoot of the Idaho Department of Corrections.

He underwent a series of intense psychological and psychiatric tests and examinations to ensure he was mentally competent to understand and attend court proceedings.

David Flaget, a groundsman, was the victim in the grisly case

The newspaper now reveals that First Circuit Judge Tera Harden received a competency assessment from MD Kimberly Smith on April 5, which found Russell is now mentally fit to participate in the court proceedings.

Harden said: “The report shows that the defendant is now in a position to proceed.

“The Idaho Department of Justice is requesting that the defendant be returned to the Bonner County Jail prior to the status hearing and arraignment on the amended complaint (a cannibalism charge now included).”

Russell is currently being held in the Bonner County Jail and will appear in Magistrates Court for the first time on Friday.

He is the prime suspect in the September 10 murder of David Flaget, 70, the groundskeeper of the Russell family home where Russell was temporarily staying.

In December, Bonn County Detective Phillip Stella said: “Flaget had several conflict-like encounters with Russell and told the family about it.

“The family had enough warning signs that Mr. Russell was a danger to himself or others.”

The Bee reports that Flaget was killed near the Old Field House in Clark Fork and a member of the Russell family found him dead in his own truck. It was parked on the family property.

Russell first fled the Bonn County Sheriff’s deputies and initiated a brief standoff before allowing himself to be arrested at the building where he is known to be staying.

Several pieces of evidence pointing to cannibalism were uncovered by the sheriff’s deputies, including a bloodied microwave oven and pieces of meat found inside and outside the building where Russell would be staying, the newspaper said.

Russell apparently made only one statement to law enforcement, which he has repeated. He said: “It’s private property and we don’t like it when it’s not family.”

The maximum penalty for cannibalism is 14 years in prison. Charges of first-degree murder carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment or the possibility of the death penalty.

East Idaho News reported that investigators could not locate one of Flaget’s testicles, his penis, and part of the thigh that had been removed from his body.

As a result, they wrote in their probable cause affidavit that they believe Russell ate the missing body parts.

Court documents also allege that Russell once told his family he wanted to “cut off pieces of his skin with a knife” to “heal his brain.”

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