According to the court documents, the 39-year-old man is now being charged with cannibalism in addition to a charge of first-degree murder. The defendant was charged on Wednesday, court records say. Prosecutors said that pieces of the victim’s body were found around the defendants house the day after the murder, including a thermal artifact (observational finding showing that heat has been applied to only a portion of the remains, as opposed to the entire body.)
Prosecutor Marshall filed an amended criminal complaint charging the 39-year-old man from Idaho, James David Russell, of cannibalism in relation to the Sept. 10 murder of the 70-year-old victim David Flaget.
On Sept. 10, deputies responded to a call about a suspicious death. The responding deputies found the 70-year-old victim, David Flaget, unresponsive inside a vehicle. The responding deputies also found the 39-year-old defendant, who at the time was living on the property.
Prosecutors said that an investigation by detectives established probable cause that David had died at the hands of the 39-year-old defendant.
According to reports, prosecutors said that pieces of the victim’s body were found around Russell’s house the day after the murder, including a thermal artifact (observational finding showing that heat has been applied to only a portion of the remains, as opposed to the entire body.)
Human tissues were discovered in the defendant’s home as well. Authorities also said that investigators seized a bloodied microwave and glass bowl as well as a bloodied knife and duffel bag as part of their search for clues.
Prosecutors said the defendant reportedly “thought he could heal himself” by cutting off portions of flesh.” Doing so, he believed, would “cure his brain,” according to reports.
Authorities believe the victim was duct taped before he was killed, court records say.
When the officers arrived on scene, the defendant reportedly ran away and barricaded himself in a loft above his garage. He then engaged in a brief standoff. He was arrested shortly after.
Detective Stella reportedly said that relatives told the authorities that Flaget and Russell had previous run-ins with one another.
“There’s a lot of facets we will certainly never know. It wasn’t the bloodiest crime scene, but it’s more of the psychological, ‘What the heck is going on here?’ and ‘Why am I picking up pieces?’ It’s a walk down the dark path that we don’t see very often. When dealing with death and carnage it’s a shock to our conscience. As far as I know, this is the first cannibalism charge in Idaho.” Detective Stella said.
The defendant is scheduled to appear for a review hearing on Dec. 28. This incident remains under investigation. This is a developing story and it will be updated as new information become available.