Panama City teenager sentenced to 25 years in prison

Local News

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — When he was only 17-years-old, Adeviante Russ shot Gerald Smith at the Macedonia Garden Apartments in 2017.

Smith later died from his injuries and Russ was charged with second-degree murder.

During a jury trial in May, Russ was found guilty of manslaughter.

Adeviante Russ

Now almost three months later, Russ appeared in court on Thursday to hear his sentence.

During that hearing, the court heard from both attorneys and Russ himself.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry to everyone here in this courtroom listening to me and y’all can take my apology sincerely or not but this is from the bottom of my heart. I don’t want any problems with anybody. I don’t want to cause anyone any hurt. This is never what I wanted,” Russ said.

During that testimony, he gave a detailed look at his background and told the court why he shot Smith on that day.

Russ said, “And my answer to that, the true answer and the only answer, it was a means of survival.”

Throughout the trial, several people questioned if Russ felt remorseful for taking the life of 25-year-old Smith and said he’s felt remorse since the day it happened.

In the end, the state asked Circuit Judge Christopher Patterson to sentence Russ to a maximum of 30 years.

His attorneys wanted Patterson to consider giving Russ a youthful offenders sentence that would reach up to six years. This option would give Russ other resources for mental, physical and educational advancement.

“I am going to sentence you to 25 years in the Department of Corrections. I do believe you need a chance to live your life but you do need a chance to pay for this crime as well sir,” Patterson said.

Russ is now 19-years-old.

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