An Idaho man has been charged with murder and cannibalism after allegedly killing a 70-year-old man and eating his flesh in the hopes it would “cure his brain.”
According to the Bonners Ferry Herald, 39-year-old James David Russell is suspected of murdering David Flaget in September after some of Flaget’s tissue was found within Russell’s home.
The victim’s body was also reportedly found in a car outside of Russell’s home on September 10. Part of the victim’s body was allegedly missing, according to newly released court documents.
Authorities also found a bloodied microwave, a glass bowl, a bloodied knife, and a duffle bag at the suspect’s home.
“When dealing with death and carnage it’s a shock to our conscience,” Phillip Stella, a Bonner County Detective, said last week. “As far as I know this is the first cannibalism charge in Idaho.”
According to court documents, the authorities received a report about a possible murder on September 10, and once arriving at the scene they found Flaget’s dead body upside down in his truck.
“There’s a lot of facets we will certainly never know,” Stella also said regarding Russell’s alleged crime. “It wasn’t the bloodiest crime scene, but it’s more of the psychological, ‘what the heck is going on here?’ and ‘why am I picking up pieces?’ It’s a walk down the dark path that we don’t see very often.”
According to the probable cause affidavit, Russell allegedly killed and ate his victim because he believed he could “heal himself by cutting off portions of flesh” in order to “cure his brain.”
This was also reportedly not the first time Flaget had a run in with Russell.
“Flaget had several conflict-like run-ins with Russell and told the family about them,” Stella said. “The family had enough warning signs that Mr. Russell was a danger to himself or others.”
According to documents, court proceedings were paused in October after a judge found Russell unable to stand trial for the charge of first-degree murder and ordered him to the Idaho Security Medical Program, although the results of Russell’s mental health evaluation on October 5 are still sealed under court order.
The next time Russell is reportedly scheduled to appear back in court will be for a review hearing on December 28.