XENIA — A jury convicted a Yellow Springs man of 16 counts of cocaine trafficking and possession Dec. 18, despite his absence in court.
Willie Russell, 30, is at large. A warrant has been issued for his arrest, court records indicate.
Greene County law enforcement is asking for the public’s help in locating Russell, who had posted bond and was not in custody when his trial began Monday in Judge Stephen A. Wolaver’s courtroom. Russell was on electronic home monitoring and cut off his ankle monitor before the trial continued on Wednesday.
“The defendant failed to show up for court on Wednesday, December 18th. The trial continued despite the defendant’s absence and the jury convicted him late Wednesday afternoon,” Greene County Prosecutor Stephen K. Haller said in a release.
Russell was also convicted of a firearm specification for displaying a handgun on one of the drug deals, Haller said. Wolaver sentenced him, in absentia, to a total mandatory prison time of 23 years.
Assistant Prosecutor David Hayes represented the state while Defense Attorney Thomas Scott represented the defendant.
“The citizens of Greene County should be grateful for the hard work of the Greene County A.C.E. Task Force that made this conviction possible,” Hayes said in the release. “The important thing now is that Willie Russell is found and brought to justice to serve the sentence imposed by the court.”
Any citizen who believes he or she has seen Russell is asked to contact the Fairborn Police Department immediately at 937-754-3000. Russell is an African American male, 5-foot-8, and weighs approximately 280 pounds. The defendant had short cut hair and a beard that was dyed red when he was last seen. He has been known to dye his beard different colors. His last known address is 5 E. Hyde Road, Yellow Springs.