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Ex-Defence Force star, Russell Jr, freed of murder charge, after 25 months in jail

Twenty five year old Ross Russell Jr, a former Defence Force football stand-out, was freed today, after two years in jail awaiting trial for the murder of former Diego Martin resident Selwyn Gaff.

Russell Jr, who maintained his innocence and offered an alibi which suggested he could not have been at the scene of the crime, was released due to insufficient evidence. Sources told Wired868 that he will now consider his options with regards to seeking redress from the state for his lengthy incarceration.

Photo: Defence Force winger Ross Russell Jr (left) lifts the ball over Police FC custodian Perry O’Connor for his team’s third goal in 2015/16 Pro League action in Malabar on 26 January 2016.
(Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)

Gaff was 28 when he died from a gunshot wound on 6 June 2016, after being found in the Macqueripe forest, barely alive, by lawmen. He was allegedly shot in the abdomen and left for dead on the previous day.

Russell Jr, who is the son of former Trinidad and Tobago international goalkeeper and current Soca Warriors assistant coach Ross Russell, was detained at Teteron Headquarters along with his cousin and fellow soldier, Balondemu Julius, immediately after Gaff’s death.

Russell Jr and Julius were discharged from the Defence Force and formally charged, a week later, with Gaff’s murder, possession of arms and ammunition and shooting at Gaff’s friend, Jesse Quashie, with intent to do previous bodily harm.

Russell Jr and Julius both represented the Army/Coast Guard combination when they last won the Pro League title in the 2012/13 season. At the time, the “Teteron Boys” were coached by Russell.

Julius, who is 36, remains imprisoned for Gaff’s murder and awaits trial.

Photo: North East Stars striker Trevin Caesar (left) tries to burst past Defence Force attacker Balondemu Julius during the 2013/14 Pro League season.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

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