YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A woman who police said killed a man last Easter after they argued over the existence of God was indicted Thursday by a Mahoning County grand jury.
Jillian Russell, 37, was indicted on charges of aggravated murder and murder for the April 12 shooting death of Marcus Turnage, 36, inside a home in the 500 block of Lakeview Avenue.
Police said witnesses said Turnage and Russell were arguing about the existence of God when Russell shot Turnage.
Turnage denied God existed and asked Russell why she shot him, reports said witnesses told police.
Russell was taken into custody at the scene. Following her arraignment in municipal court, a mental health evaluation was ordered to see if she was competent to stand trial.
The evaluation found she was incompetent to stand trial, but after undergoing treatment, her competency was restored. The case was bound over to the grand jury following a preliminary hearing on March 14 in Youngstown Municipal Court.
During the preliminary hearing, defense attorney John Juhasz asked Visiting Judge David Fuhry to dismiss the aggravated murder charge if he was going to bind the case over and instead bind over a straight charge of murder. Juhasz said there was no testimony or evidence that Russell killed Turnage either as the result of a premeditated plan or as she was committing another felony, which are specifications a defendant must be guilty of in order to be found guilty of aggravated murder.
Judge Fuhry said he agreed Turnage was not killed in the commission of another felony, but he did say because there was no sign of self defense, prosecutors could make a “permissive inference” that premeditation was used, so he ruled both the aggravated murder and murder charges could be heard by a grand jury.
Russell has been in the Mahoning County Jail on $1 million bond since she returned from her mental health treatment.