Promising 23-year-old Pro League football star, Ross Russell Jr, is among two recently discharged soldiers who appeared before Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar in the Port of Spain court this morning for the murder of Diego Martin resident Selwyn Gaff.
Russell Jr, who has two children, was charged alongside his cousin and former Defence Force teammate Balondemu Julius, who is 34.
Gaff, 28, died from a gunshot wound on 6 June 2016 after being found in the Macqueripe forest, barely alive, by police. He was allegedly shot in the abdomen on the previous day and left for dead.
Julius and Russell Jr were detained at Teteron Headquarters, soon after Gaff’s death, while investigations were conducted. Both men were subsequently discharged from the army and handed over to the police last week.
Julius and Russell Jr were charged over the weekend with four criminal offences including Gaff’s murder, possession of arms and ammunition and shooting at Jesse Quashie with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
Russell Jr did provide an alibi to the police which claimed that he was elsewhere at the time of the murder. The alibi, according to a well-placed source, was a witness statement by a third Defence Force player, who has made over 30 international appearances for the Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team.
Russell Jr’s arrest has shocked teammates and the local football community. He is considered a likeable player who rarely ever found himself in trouble with match referees or spats with opposing players.
However, he is believed to have been monitored by Defence Force officials after being spotted on more than one occasion in the company of a relative suspected of criminal behaviour.
He is the son of former Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Ross Russell and teamed up with his dad when Defence Force won its last Pro League title in the 2012/13 season.
Russell was coach of the “Teteron Boys” at the time while his son featured predominantly at left back.
A tall, quick and versatile flanker, Russell Jr enjoyed his most prolific spell in the local top flight in the 2015/16 Pro League season, as he scored nine goals—including game winners against W Connection and San Juan Jabloteh—and helped the Army/Coast Guard unit to third place.
Defence Force and Russell Jr ended season on a high note as they edged Connection 2-1 on Friday 27 May 2016 to clinch the Digicel Pro Bowl title
The senior Russell, who was distraught when he spoke to Wired868 on the weekend, heads the technical staff of the Japs North East Stars Pro League team and is also a former Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team and Men’s Under-17 head coach.
Julius, a speedy, aggressive forward, last represented Defence Force in the 2013/14 season.
Julius and Russell Jr will next appear in court on 5 July 2016.
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Trinidad ppl is de f***ing worst yes…like some in dem see him commit murder… Stuepsss just because hes a soldier and he have a good things going ppl jump at this ….c***s
All dem c***s commenting and doh really kno wat goin on…smh…hmm..social media is trouble yes
Share your side of the story
Friends does carry you but don’t bring you back!
This is not what one wants to see. Just have to wait and see what happens in the courts.
WoW!!!! 10 years to sit and wait on a trial date aint easy.
So sad that something like this could happen
Innocent until proven guilty thats the rule of law
Forget player for right now,a man was shot and left for dead,and these persons of interest said nothing??
Sad sad sad
His whole life gone down the drain
I see something different… I see our youths throwing away their lives one after the next an it hurts,, where has the love gone? I’m the father of two young boys and I believe I’m doing a great job thus far, but when i introduce my kids to my (friends) an they end up in the papers dead or headingt to jail i wonder where their thoughts go about my associates and I….. I continue to pray, jah bless
So they still charge the man even when he had an alibi ?
That shows us just how messed up our judicial system is
Not at all… instead it points to the credibility of the information provided, or rather, the lack thereof.
Maybe they checked the alibi and it did not check out. The Army certainly did not believe the alibi.
If there are conflicting statements, they may have just decided to let the court decide. That’s what the justice system is about. It doesn’t make him guilty.
The problem is how long you have to wait for trial.
They Messed Up They Lives. Now They Live And Die In Jail.
This is so disturbing… I pray God’s grace upon his dad and his family at this time because no matter what, innocent or guilty this is pain for any family to see a child that you raised. Let’s not be so quick to judge but rather think about his loved ones and the murdered victim’s loved ones more so.
Ummm who will guard the guards