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Russ sentenced to life in prison for role in Club Blu shooting

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Posted at 5:33 AM, Jun 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-07 05:45:48-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — One of the five suspects charged in the 2016 shooting at a Fort Myers nightclub was sentenced to life in prison Monday .

24-year-old Kierra Russ was sentenced after a jury found her guilty of two counts of second-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder.

In concurrent sentences, she was sentenced to life for each of the two counts of murder and 15 years for conspiracy.

Russ was led from the courtroom in tears following her conviction last month. Prosecutors say she was involved in the shooting that left two teenagers dead and 14 club patrons injured.

"She wasn't one of the shooters, but she played a role, and the jury found that," said Lee County state attorney Sarah Miller.

That role, according to prosecutors, set the shooting in motion by texting another suspect in the case, Demetrius O'Neal, the message "I see an opp wide open."

Russ' attorney, Doug Malloy, tried to push the argument there wasn't enough evidence against her to convict.

The jury found Russ' acts as a spotter did prove guilt.

"Hopefully there was a message sent, whether you have any part, we will work hard to ensure justice for the community," said Miller.

O'Neal and the other suspects: Derrick Church, Tajze Battle, and Don Loggins, are scheduled to be in court for pre-trial hearings at the end of July.