Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Man Asks Judge For Death Penalty

CASSELBERRY, Fla. -- A man has confessed that he hogtied, beat and stabbed a woman to death, and he said it is time he pays for it -- possibly with his life.

David Russ is asking the judge to consider the death penalty for him and hold back evidence that might earn him mercy.

The victim, Madeleine Leinen, 58, was part of the family at the doctor's office where she worked.

"The patients love her. Months later they would come in only to find out it was her who had been killed," Dr. Emil Felski said.

Russ was eventually arrested in Texas. He pleaded guilty instead of going to trial.

"I stood in front of you for these charges and pleaded guilty. I was found competent. I'm here vulnerable as should be the case," Russ said.

Still facing the possibility of death, Russ is asking the judge for no jury and no witnesses to say he shouldn't be put to death.

"I don't want my family or the victim's family to be dragged in here to put on mitigation which actually might succeed. I've struggled with drug addiction. I was abused as a child," Russ said.

"Just seems like a ploy so he won't have to face Madeleine's family, his own family," Felski said. "He didn't give Madeleine a choice. Madeleine wanted to live. Madeleine enjoyed life. She wasn't given any choices."

Felski and Leinen's family don't want Russ to be labeled a man so willing to face the music, that he catches a break.

"He wants to have the death penalty. We agree with his choice," Felski said.

The judge has set another hearing to let the attorneys lay out what they would say in a penalty hearing.

To comment on this story, send an e-mail to Dave McDaniel.

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