In September, a jury found Joshua Russell, 25, guilty of capital murder in the 2011 shooting death of Anniston officer Justin Sollohub, 27. Today a Calhoun County judge sentenced Russell to death.
Sollohub was fatally shot in the head while chasing Russell on foot on August 24, 2011 in west Anniston during a routine patrol. Russell was arrested shortly after the shooting and charged with Sollohub’s murder.
Russell’s sentencing began Monday morning in Calhoun County. The first person to take the stand was a probation officer who testified about Joshua Russell constantly refusing to cooperate with his jailers and getting into fights with other inmates at the Calhoun and Etowah county jails.
His report included an apology from Russell, saying it shouldn’t have happened and that he prayed for officer Sollohub’s mother.
Later, an Etowah County jailer testified Russell gave a statement refusing to express remorse for the killing. Russell supposedly said Sollohub “shouldn’t have been chasing me and got what he deserved.”
Sollohub’s mother, Jennifer Morris, also took the stand. Morris says her son had dreams that included being a state trooper pilot and having a family.
A doctor testified for the defense, suggesting Russell had ADD and some people with that condition make impulsive decisions without considering consequences of their actions.
Russell’s cousin also took the stand and testified about Russell’s mother having history of drug use. She said Russell is remorseful and has personally apologized to Sollohub’s family.
Russell was raised by his grandmother. Neither of his parents was in court today.
In September, a jury voted 8-4 to recommend Russell get life in prison without parole. The prosecution asked the judge for the death penalty, and the ultimate decision was in the hands of Calhoun County Circuit Judge Brian Howell.