Locals react to former Love County Sheriff's lesser plea deal

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LOVE COUNTY, Okla. (KXII) -- The former Love County Sheriff's plea deal is stirring up emotions from both sides.

"That's ridiculous. I feel that he should really accept his felony," says a Love County resident who wants to remain anonymous.

"They turn him loose, they dropped the charge, good," says Joe Russell supporter and friend, John Andrews.

The former Love county sheriff's plea deal is stirring up emotions from both sides.

"He knows he can get away with it, he always has and its not gonna change," says the Love County resident.

"Prove it," says Andrews.

During his time as sheriff, Russell was accused of allowing his son to sell drugs out of the home they shared and letting his son's fugitive girlfriend live there.

But Monday afternoon, those felony charges were dropped by prosecutors in exchange for Russell pleading no contest to a misdemeanor charge of willful omission to perform duty.

Russell's attorney, Gary Brown, says the prosecution wouldn't have been able to prove the felony charges.

"Sheriff Russell is not guilty of anything except for being a naive parent," says Brown.

Russell will have to pay a 370 dollar court fee and stay out of trouble for a year.

"This case will be dismissed and it will be basically like it never happened on the record," says Brown.

"He should have to deal with the things that he's done around here," says the Love County resident.

"But what they were looking for was something to charge him with criminally and that's not gonna happen. Joe Russell is not that kind. They don't know him, they don't know the real Joe Russell," says Andrews.

"I just know that the good Lord is gonna take care of him and just pray it all gets better and doesn't go bad," says the Love County resident.

Russell declined comment. The prosecutors also declined to comment, telling us to call the Oklahoma Attorney General's office. No one from there has returned our calls.



 
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