By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
An Atmore man, convicted of murder in 2004 in the shooting death of his cousin a year earlier, will remain in prison at least five more years after he was denied parole during May 27 hearings by the Alabama Bureau of Pardons & Paroles.
Lionel Russell, who is or will soon be 37 years old, has been behind bars for more than 18 years, including 424 days in the Escambia County Detention Center while awaiting trial. According to Alabama Department of Corrections records, he will not be eligible for parole consideration again until May 1, 2026.
According to court documents and published reports, Russell was on probation when on March 3, 2003, he shot 20-year-old Troy Alexander Harris during an altercation at Harris’s Northgate Drive residence in Atmore. Russell had been released on probation just weeks earlier after serving barely a third of a three-year sentence handed down in Escambia County Circuit Court for a 2002 second-degree assault conviction.
Harris reportedly was taken by private vehicle to Atmore Community Hospital after he staggered into the house and told family members he had been shot. He was transferred from ACH to Baptist Medical Center in Pensacola, Fla., but died that night during emergency surgery.
Atmore Police Department investigators determined from witness statements that Russell did the shooting, and an all-points bulletin was broadcast for his arrest. The suspect, spotted by a patrol officer minutes later as he walked along Martin Luther King Drive, led police on a brief foot chase before he was captured.
Russell, who is currently housed at Fountain Correctional Facility, was sentenced to serve 30 years for the murder, with a 10-year sentence for second-degree assault to run concurrently. His minimum release date without parole or a pardon is February 28, 2033.