GreeneStreets. Feature photo of a back country road in Greene County, Indiana. Courtesy of Nick Schneider.

Kentucky man agrees to plead guilty

Russell Christy

Russell Christy

On Christmas Eve in 2016, a man from Hazard, Kentucky, ran off the road, traveled through a field, crashed into a fence in Greene County and wound up in jail on a drug charge. While there, officers said they found guns and more drugs in his motel room.

Under Indiana law, his past conviction for armed robbery meant he was not supposed to have firearms. One of his cases was expected to go to trial next Tuesday but earlier this month, he signed a negotiated plea agreement and is now scheduled to be sentenced in July.

Russell Christy, now 55, was facing two criminal cases.

In the first, he was charged with possession of methamphetamine, a Level 6 felony, and possession of paraphernalia, a Class C misdemeanor, after he was arrested by Jasonville Police Officer Dustin Cain.

Officer Cain worked a crash on December 24, 2016, where a silver sports car had run off the highway south of Shanklin Street in Jasonville and gone through a field and up an embankment before going through a hot-wired fence. Cain said Christy was standing outside the vehicle when he arrived on the scene.

Christy allegedly said he lived in Indianapolis, had rented the car four days earlier, was in the county to go hunting, and had swerved to miss a deer. But as the two were walking around the vehicle, in plain view on the floorboard of the car, the officer saw a glass smoking device with a residue that field-tested positive for methamphetamine.

Court records indicate Christy's home address is in Hazard, Ky., but he has also lived in Indianapolis.

Christy spent Christmas in the Greene County Jail. A couple of days later, Christy made a phone call from the jail to an unknown male. All phone calls at the jail are recorded and periodically monitored. A jail officer had monitored the call and reported it to Greene County Sheriff’s Detective Shawn Cullison.

Det. Cullison listened to the call and explained in a probable cause affidavit that Christy had told the male he had firearms and a medicine bag in a motel room and “you need to get down to the motel and get my stuff out of there.”

A records check revealed Christy’s criminal history involved a past conviction for armed robbery in Indianapolis. That is a serious violent felony so Christy should not be in possession of firearms.

Before the unknown male made it to the motel, Det. Cullison had obtained a search warrant and Cullison, GCSD Deputy Blake McCamey and Indiana State Police Troopers Ricard Klun and Randy VanArsdale got there first.

Cullison reported that in Christy’s room at the Allen Motel in Linton, they found a muzzleloader with no serial number, a Remington rifle,  Mossberg shotgun, 13 boxes of ammunition for the firearms plus illegal substances.

In the second case, Christy was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon - a Level 4 felony, possession of methamphetamine - a Level 5 felony, and possession of marijuana - a Class B misdemeanor.

It’s taken a while for these two cases to wind their way through the system and the second case was on it’s way to trial when Christy, his defense attorney, Greene County Public Defender Alan Baughman, and Greene County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Keven McIntosh signed a negotiated plea agreement.

If the agreement is accepted by the court, Christy will plead guilty to possession of methamphetamine, a Level 5 felony and the earlier case and other counts will be dismissed. He will be recommended for the Indiana DOC’s Purposeful Incarceration Program in a sentence not to exceed four years.