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A deranged Idaho man was charged with cannibalism after he mutilated an elderly victim and heated parts of her body in the microwave before feasting on the remains to “heal her brain,” authorities said.
James David Russell, 39, killed and ate the body parts of David Flaget, 70, on Sept. 10, according to an amended criminal complaint filed by Bonner County Prosecutor Louis Marshall, filed Wednesday.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, Russell believed that he could ‘heal himself by cutting off parts of (Flaget’s) meat’ to ‘heal his brain’.
“When we deal with death and carnage, it is a shock to our conscience,” Bonner County Detective Phillip Stella told Shoshone News Press on Thursday.
“As far as I know, this is the first cannibalism count in Idaho.”
When asked about the relationship between the men, Stella said the two had several “clashes” before Flaget’s death in Clark Fork, located about 80 miles south of the Canadian border.
David Flaget, 70, allegedly killed by Russell on September 10 after several ‘clashes’
Russell’s prosecution was halted in late October after First District Magistrate Judge Tara Harden found him unable to stand trial for first-degree murder and ordered him to enter the Idaho Safety Medical Program.
The results of the mental health evaluation on October 5 remain sealed by court order.
Russell is scheduled to appear for a review hearing on December 28.
“Flaget had several conflict-like run-ins with Russell and told the family about them,” Stella said.
“The family had enough warning signs that Mr. Russell was a danger to himself or others.”
Police seized a bloody microwave and glass container from the crime scene, along with a bloody knife and a canvas bag.
Authorities also found pieces of Flaget’s body after searching Russell’s residence, including a ‘thermal device’, a day after the murder.
A thermal artifact occurs when heat is applied to a small part of the body’s remains and not to the entire body.
Dr. Veena Singh completed an autopsy of the human remains on September 13 and discovered that the tissue discovered in Russell’s home was that of Flaget.
However, some of Flaget’s remains have yet to be found, according to authorities.
“There are many facets that we will certainly never know,” Stella told the News Press about the crime.
“It wasn’t the bloodiest crime scene, but it’s more psychological,” what the hell is going on here? “and” why am I picking up pieces? ”
“It’s a walk down the dark path that we don’t see very often.”
On September 10, sheriff’s deputies were alerted to a possible murder at a home on Lower Mosquito Creek Road, where they said they found Flaget unconscious and face down in the passenger seat of his truck.
Flaget’s wrists were taped together and he is believed to have been immobilized before he was killed, police said.
Russell initially fled law enforcement and barricaded himself in the attic space of the garage of the house in which he lived.
Russell eventually complied with the officer’s orders and was arrested, however authorities noted that he did not understand Miranda’s rights after they were repeatedly read to him.
Under Idaho law, “[A] none who intentionally ingests the flesh or blood of a human being is guilty of cannibalism.”
The law was put on the books in 1990.
David Flaget Quick and Facts
- An Idaho man was charged with cannibalism and first-degree murder last week after police discovered microwaved body parts in his home
- James David Russell, 39, claimed eating the body parts ‘cured his brain’
- The victim, 70-year-old David Flaget, had ‘several run-ins’ with Russell prior to the September 10 murder, according to authorities
- According to a probable cause affidavit, Russell believed that he could ‘heal himself by cutting off portions of (Flaget’s) flesh’ in order to ‘cure his brain’
- Police seized a bloody microwave and glass bowl from the crime scene, along with a bloodied knife and duffel bag
- Police also noted that Flaget’s wrists were duct taped together, and it is believed he was restrained before he was murdered