Death row inmate who killed Riverside deputies was found hanging


The San Quentin inmate who died Saturday while on death row for gunning down two Riverside County sheriff’s deputies in 1997 was discovered hanging in his cell late Friday night, a prison spokesman said.

Timothy Russell, 53, had been on death row since Jan. 14, 1999, after he was convicted in the ambush slayings of the deputies -- James Lehmann Jr., 41, an Apple Valley resident, and Michael Haugen 33, who lived in San Jacinto.

Prison spokesman Lt. Sam Robinson on Tuesday told the local CBS affiliate, KPIX, that a corrections officer found Russell hanged in his cell during a regular inmate check around 11:55 p.m. Friday.


Russell had tied a linen bedsheet to the bars of his single cell, Robinson said. He was pronounced dead at 12:48 a.m. Saturday.

He had been convicted of gunning Lehmann Jr. and Haugen down 16 years earlier as they walked up to his property in response to an early morning domestic-violence call outside a remote desert-area mobile home where Russell lived.

Authorities said Russell was hiding behind scrub brush and opened fire with a World War II-vintage military carbine as the deputies got out of their patrol cars in pre-dawn darkness on Jan. 5. They died at the scene.


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