A Baton Rouge judge has ordered the arrest of the convicted sex offender who missed two court dates after trying to kill himself last week following his April 30 sex-crime related arrest.
State District Judge Don Johnson on Thursday declined to revoke or increase Mark David Russell's $13,000 bail on his most recent charges, but the judge said he intends to modify the bail set by fellow 19th Judicial District Judge Chip Moore.
One of Russell’s attorneys, Ron Haley Jr., said outside Johnson’s courtroom that any modifications could include house arrest, electronic monitoring and restricted travel, among other things. Haley also said he is pleased the judge did not revoke or increase Russell’s bail.
Johnson, during a hearing on the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney's Office's request to revoke or increase Russell's bail, said he ordered the 55-year-old Baker man's arrest for failing to appear in his courtroom May 8 and on Thursday.
Russell attempted to take his own life at his home on May 8 by slitting his wrists and taking pills, authorities have said.
He is now in a mental hospital, one of his attorneys, Dedrick Moore, told Johnson on Thursday. Russell was moved there from Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.
District Attorney Hillar Moore III, who is no relation to Dedrick Moore or Chip Moore, afterward described Johnson's ruling as acceptable and said Russell now can be independently evaluated.
Prosecutor Sonya Cardia-Porter argued to the judge Thursday that Russell's $13,000 bail was not appropriate. She also said Russell’s failure to appear in court was due to his own actions.
Haley argued Judge Moore had all the necessary information before him when he set the bail.
“It’s important to respect the process,” Haley said to Johnson.
Russell, who has a 1993 sex crime conviction involving several boys ranging in age from 6 to 13, was arrested April 30 and accused of raping a 17-year-old boy in Baker last month, impersonating a police officer and holding the boy against his will at Russell’s home.
Earlier this week, sex crime charges against Russell stemming from a 2014 incident involving a 16-year-old boy were dismissed.
Judges Johnson and Moore recently swapped dockets, with Johnson moving from the civil bench to the criminal bench and Moore moving from the criminal bench to the civil bench.