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To be submitted to the Alabama Parole Board
on behalf of James Russell and his family.
On April 19, 1985, in the early evening hours, Ricky Hodges, Sylvester Brown and Jimmy Simmons brutally battered James Russell with the intentions of murder.
Around 6:00 PM the three men stood across the road and stopped Russell as he was on his way to compete in his high school track meet. The three men approached Russell's vehicle with intent to harm. Once they arrived at the vehicle, they punched him in the face and took control of his van. The three men drove around for over an hour taking turns driving while the others beat, strangled, chocked, and smashed Russell's face into the radio that they had ripped from the dashboard. After the malicious attack, they later took Russell to a park where their intentions were to drown him but there were too many people around. From there they proceeded to take Russell down a secluded wooded dirt road, pulled him from the vehicle, and beat him viciously with tree limbs. After this attack, the three men returned to the van where they tried to kill him by driving the van back and forth to run Russell over. Then they tossed Russell's body off the road and into the woods, where they left him for dead.
Russell was found by a friendly patron who was alerted by his dogs barking and the painful screams of a young boy. The doctors say the only way Russell survived was because he was in such great shape from being a runner for so many years.
Ricky Hodges is currently serving an 85 year sentence and Sylvester Brown is serving a 65 year sentence in the Alabama Correctional System, for the attempted murder of James Russell. Hodges is eligible for release from prison in the year 2070 and Brown is eligible for release from prison in the year 2050.
We, the undersigned, oppose parole for Ricky Hodges and Sylvester Brown. Hodges and Brown have no respect for human life and should serve their full sentence. By keeping Hodges and Brown in prison, the State of Alabama will protect society from dangerous killers and send a strong message that violence and murder will not be tolerated in Alabama.
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