McKINNEY — A Collin County jury worked until midnight Tuesday before deciding to convict McKinney chiropractor David Allen Russell of sexual assault on four out of five alleged victims, and took until late in the evening Wednesday to sentence Russell to 23 years in prison.
On Tuesday, Russell, 44, was found guilty of:
- Sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child by contact
- Indecency with a second child by contact
- Sexual assault of two adults
Russell was sentenced to 15 years for the sexual assault of a child charge, and District Judge John Roach Jr. ordered that the eight-year sentence for indecency with a child by contact be stacked on top of that for a total of 23 years. Russell will be eligible for parole in eleven-and-a-half years.
Russell was also sentenced to 12 years on the second indecency with a child sentence, and 10 years apiece for each sexual assault of an adult charge, but those sentences will be served concurrently with the sexual assault of a child charge.
Jurors began deliberating the sentence at 3:55 p.m. Wednesday and continued to deliberate until 9:00 p.m.
The defense argued Russell has already suffered the loss of his business, reputation, and license, and would likely die in jail if given an extended sentence, because he suffers from kidney problems that they say have sent his health into a downward spiral.
The prosecution argued his health condition should have no bearing on the sentence and Russell is a predator who is a continuing threat.
Prosecutors began the punishment phase by calling 13 former patients, most of which were not part of the prosecuting case again Russell, to the witness stand. Each of the patients claim Russell touched them inappropriately.
Several alleged victims said they decided to come forward when they heard Russell was accused of molesting children. One former patient testified after Russell groped her, he said, "It's your word against mine."
Prosecutors also called to the witness stand four parents of the alleged victims.
"Without the right punishment, David Russell will do this again," one parent said.
Prosecutors wrapped up their side of the punishment phase after calling 19 witnesses.
At noon, Russell's attorney took his turn to argue for his client. Several of the chiropractor's family members testified that Russell can be rehabilitated without going to prison.
Since the beginning of the trial, the jury has taken two breaks and made two requests: A legal definition and a transcript of testimony given by one of the victims.
Trial testimony wrapped up Monday, more than a week after it started.
According to prosecutor Shannon Miller, Russell was first accused of molestation by two female students at the Taylor Dance Studio, where the chiropractor and his employees taught a stretching and conditioning course. Police said the girls came forward with the accusations in November 2011.
As the investigation into the accusations continued, more alleged victims came forward.
However, Russell's attorney, Todd Shapiro, claimed the allegations initially were started by a former dance instructor who was upset with Russell after he took over her classes at the studio. Shapiro argued there isn't enough evidence to prove the allegations.