Bonner County's Man James David Russell has been declared mentally fit for court proceedings by medical experts as the man had microwaved and eaten his neighbor's body parts last year after murdering him. Since then, Russell's mental status was being examined by the experts.
On September 10, 2021, Russell allegedly murdered his neighbor David Flaget, who was the groundkeeper of Russell's family property.
It's also believed to be the first cannibalism case in Idaho. Russell was taking part involuntarily in Idaho Security Medical Program, in which detainees are given intensive psychological and psychiatric treatment.
The program also aims to ascertain the facts that the detainees are mentally fit for the court proceedings.
Doctor of Psychology Kimberly Smith submitted a competency evaluation report to First District Magistrate Judge Tera A. Harden last week.
"The report indicates that the defendant is now fit to proceed. The Idaho Department of Corrections is requesting that the defendant be transported back to the Bonner County Jail prior to the status hearing and arraignment on the amended complaint," said Harden, according to Bonner County Daily Bee.
Previously, no cases were registered against Russell in Idaho. But he had been linked to criminal cases in California and Montana.
Russell Charged With First Degree Murder and Cannibalism
Police officials have charged the man with first-degree murder and cannibalism.
A number of psychological and psychiatric tests were conducted for him to ensure that he is mentally fit to understand the court proceedings.
Russell Could Face Death Penalty or Life Imprisonment
Flaget was killed near the Old Field House in Clark Fork and a member of the Russell family found him in his own truck, dead. It was parked on the family property, reported Bonner County Daily Bee.
For cannibalism, the maximum penalty is 14 years of incarceration and first-degree murder charges can see the possibility of the death penalty or a maximum sentence of life in prison.