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Man Pleads Guilty to Slaying, Robbery

An Arleta man who went on a rampage that left one man dead last October pleaded guilty Tuesday to voluntary manslaughter and robbery charges.

Russell Alan Graham, 35, is expected to be sentenced to 17 years in prison under an agreement between his lawyer and prosecutors. Sentencing is scheduled for June 20 in San Fernando Superior Court.

Graham faced up to 37 years in prison had he been convicted of the murder charge originally filed against him, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Jacquelyn P. Lacey. Prosecutors agreed to drop the charge as well as an additional count of robbery if Graham agreed to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter Tuesday, she said.

Graham shot Freddie Fausto, 22, to death in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven store in Panorama City, where the two had arranged to meet to make a drug deal, Lacey said.

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Witnesses said Graham shot Fausto while attempting to steal the man’s drugs. But Graham told police that Fausto pulled the gun, which discharged and hit Fausto while the two struggled over it, Lacey said.

Graham drove to an acquaintance’s house in Sun Valley, where he fired the gun into the ground and pointed it at the acquaintance during an argument, Lacey said.

Graham sped off in his truck and went to a Sun Valley market, where he robbed the cashier of $500 and took jewelry from the store’s bookkeeper, Lacey said. He was arrested the next day after police saw him leave a Sun Valley bar, authorities said.


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