By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A MAN convicted of murdering the friend he claimed introduced him to an HIV-positive woman who gave him the virus will have his appeal heard in two months.
Stephen Russell, 21, appeared in the Court of Appeal yesterday to contest his conviction and 38-year sentence for the November 19, 2011 death of Tomal Stubbs.
The court set the substantive hearing for the appeal to be heard in October.
In October 2013, jurors unanimously convicted Russell of killing Stubbs on November 19, 2011.
According to the trial evidence, Russell told investigators he did not intend to kill Stubbs, but wanted to hurt him for causing him to contract AIDS.
But Russell, who was 18 when he killed Stubbs, claimed police made up his confession and beat him into signing it.
No evidence was brought to show Russell is ill, and his testimony was not accepted by the jury.
Crown prosecutors urged the justice to sentence Russell to life in prison. Russell, they said, had committed a “careless, cold blooded murder of a friend who was vulnerable”.
The justice said that while she agreed the murder was careless and cold blooded, mitigating factors like Russell’s age at the time and his previously blemish-free criminal record influenced her decision.