By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Court of Appeal has delayed the appeal hearing of a man convicted of murdering the friend he claimed introduced him to an HIV-positive woman.
Stephen Russell, 22, and his lawyer Ian Cargill appeared in the appellate court yesterday for the expected hearing on arguments contesting his conviction and 38-year sentence for the November 19, 2011, death of Tomal Stubbs.
However, Mr Cargill informed the court that he was not in possession of a portion of the trial transcripts, which were critical to their appeal. The matter was adjourned to November 25.
In October 2013, jurors unanimously convicted Russell of killing Stubbs.
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 that Russell is ill, and his testimony was not accepted by the jury.
Crown prosecutors urged the justice to sentence Russell to life in prison. They said he 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 unblemished criminal record influenced her decision.