Council member pleads guilty

By Andrew Garrett -

Joe Russell

Joe Russell

London City Council President Joe Russell pleaded guilty to an amended charge of disorderly conduct in Madison County Municipal Court on Monday, stemming from incident that happened on the evening of Sept. 10.

The minor misdemeanor charge was amended from an original charge of domestic violence.

According to the police report filed by Officer Chris LeGrand, he and Officer Krystin Gibson were dispatched to 153 N. Main St. on a possible domestic call. Upon arrival, LeGrand found Russell sitting in a chair on the front porch. When questioned what was going on, Russell said that he and and a woman also residing at 153 N. Main St., had argued over the cleanliness of the house.

LeGrand then entered the house to take a statement from the woman.

According to woman’s written statement, she and Russell were cleaning the kitchen when they began to argue. Russell told her she should be “ashamed as a woman” for the condition the house was in.

In response, the woman threw a dish sponge holder at him, striking his chest.

Russell then came at the woman and wrapped his hands around her neck while yelling at her to get out of his house. He proceeded to push her toward the back door.

The woman then grabbed a container of cooking spices and hit him with it in attempt to stop him, but to no avail.

Russell then managed to push the woman out the back door, throw her down on the decking, and lock her outside.

The woman’s story was almost identical to Russell’s, save for him grabbing her by the throat.

LeGrand noted red marks on the woman’s neck and placed Russell under arrest. Russell was then transported to Tri-County Regional Jail.

Fred Ballam acted as special prosecution because the City of London’s own prosecutor, Jennifer Hitt, recused herself from the case — a conflict for the city to prosecute one of its own council members.

The city offered the deal because Russell had no prior criminal record, no weapon was used in the act, the victim did not sustain a serious injury, and Russell reportedly underwent screening or therapy.

Russell was fined $150 and ordered to pay court costs of $100.

Joe Russell Russell

By Andrew Garrett

Reach Andrew Garrett at 740-852-1616, ext. 1616.

Reach Andrew Garrett at 740-852-1616, ext. 1616.