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Kierra Russ found guilty of second-degree murder in Club Blu trial in Fort Myers

Jurors found Russ guilty on two counts of 2nd-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Posted at 5:41 AM, May 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-04 08:59:22-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — On Tuesday, Jurors found Kierra Russ guilty on two counts of 2nd-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

Russ is the first of five people facing charges in the deaths of Stef’An Strawder and Sean Archilles, who were killed in the 2016 Club Blu mass shooting that injured 14 others.

Russ is charged with second-degree murder and conspiracy.

Investigators said Russ never fired a gun but they believe she tipped off members of the 1Way group that members of the rival group, the Bottom Boys were going to leave the club.

Right after the jury told Kierra Russ she was guilty of murder she broke down.

Jurors ultimately did not believe her when she said she had no idea texting a member of a neighborhood group, that she saw people they were fighting with would eventually lead to 18-year-old Stef'an Strawder and 14-year-old Sean Archilles being killed and 14 others being shot.

"As a principal even though she wasn't one of the shooters she played a role and the jury found that we proved that,” said Assistant State Attorney Sara Miller.

Miller said the verdict sends a message, while the defense attorney Douglas Molloy had no reaction.

During Molloy's closing argument, he did speak to the jury about what he called a lack of evidence.

“It doesn’t say that if you act as a spotter, you are automatically guilty,” said Molloy.

The jury did not believe that as prosecutors said Russ went from being a lookout to proving she willingly engaged in the mass shooting.

“She wasn't one of the shooters, she probably didn't know about all of them being in the parking lot she may not have known that one would go to Naples, she didn't know there would be a high-speed chase..she didn't have to,“ said Miller.

Points that Miller had to make on her own after lead prosecutor Anthony Kunasek unexpectedly passed away, days before closing arguments.

At that time, the court decided to move forward with the trial but on the final day, the impact of that loss was finally heard.

"Tony was a mentor he was my first boss in felony and taught me to be a trial attorney and not to be scared and to be brave and I had to be the bravest I have ever had to be," said Miller.

Kierra Russ is set to be sentenced on June 6, 2022, at 8 a.m.

Kierra Russ Trial: Live Updates

Closing arguments underway in Club Blu murder trial