Man Thought To Be Cannibal Believed Eating Victim Would Cure Him

Man Thought To Be Cannibal Believed Eating Victim Would Cure Him


Man Thought To Be Cannibal Believed Eating Victim Would Cure Him. Photo of James David Russell provided by Bonner County Sheriff’s Office

A man from Idaho who was arrested and charged with murder allegedly was a cannibal too, eating parts of his victim believing it would “cure his brain,” the Bonners Ferry Herald reported.

James David Russell, 39, was arrested in September and charged with first-degree murder after tissue belonging to 70-year-old David Flaget was found inside a home in Clark Fork.

Police reported that they first found the “unresponsive” body of the victim in Russell’s house on Sept. 10, but part of the anatomy was missing. They later found a blood-soaked microwave, glass bowl, knife, and duffel bag inside Russell’s home.

They did not indicate which body parts were missing.


Authorities said Russell believed he could “heal himself by cutting off portions of flesh” in order to “cure his brain,” according to the court documents.

Police also noted that the victim’s wrists were duct-taped together, and it is believed he was restrained before he was murdered.

In possibly the first-ever such case in Idaho, prosecutors added the cannibalism charge to the murder charge, according to court documents.

“When dealing with death and carnage it’s a shock to our conscience,” Bonner County detective Phillip Stella said. “As far as I know this is the first cannibalism charge in Idaho.”

There is evidence that a clean-up kit was used to dispose of remains or other evidence after the murder, according to Stella.

Court proceedings were paused in late October after First District Magistrate Judge Tara Harden found Russell unfit to stand trial for first-degree murder and ordered him into the Idaho Security Medical Program.

Russell is scheduled to appear for a review hearing on Dec. 28.

If convicted, Russell could become the first person to be imprisoned in Idaho for cannibalism, which was formally banned in the 1990s. He faces up to 14 years for the charge.

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