Sentencing continued for 2017 manslaughter case

Crime

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Back in May, a jury found Adeviante Russ guilty of manslaughter after he shot and killed Gerald Smith.

The shooting happened in 2017 when Russ was only 17-years-old.

In a jury trial, the court heard from multiple witnesses from the day and even Russ himself.

After deliberations, the jury found him guilty of manslaughter. Russ was previously charged with second-degree murder with a firearm.

Adeviante Russ

After being rescheduled twice, Russ was back in court on Friday to hear his fate.

Russ’ attorney, Rusty Sheppard says they were prepared to move forward but information from Russ changed their plan.

Before court started, Sheppard says Russ told him he wrote a letter to Judge Christopher Patterson, Gerald Smith’s mother and the mother of Gerald Smith’s child.

The letters have not made it to the individuals yet.

Sheppard says they believe these letters would be beneficial for the court to hear before Russ is sentenced.

Sheppard said, “Mr. Russ is telling us that he believes they’re important and they deal with a lot of the issues that Mr. Graham is going to argue. I think specifically remorse, disregard for human life, things like that so they’re substantial.”

“It’s almost been ninety-days. An old expression, justice delayed is justice denied. Seems to me that these issues, first of all, Mr. Russ could testify to anything in those letters if he wanted to just as he did in the trial,” State Attorney Mark Graham said.

Russ is facing up to 30 years in the Department of Corrections.

He is scheduled to be back in court on Thursday, August 22.

The Honorable Christopher Patterson is presiding over the case.

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