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Life in Prison: Kierra Russ speaks out before receiving life sentence for 2016 Club Blu mass shooting

Kierra Russ Sentenced to Life in Prison
Posted at 4:23 PM, Jun 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-07 17:03:19-04

FORT MYERS, Fla.  — On Monday, Kierra Russ, who was found guilty of second-degree murder in connection to the 2016 Club Blu teen mass shooting was sentenced to life in prison.

Several times throughout the trial, state prosecutors said Russ didn’t have to pull the trigger to be found guilty of murder.

On Monday, Judge Nick Thompson sentenced Russ to two life sentences for both counts of second-degree murder and 15 years for conspiracy to commit murder.

Assistant State Attorney, Sara Miller is the one who asked Judge Thompson for the maximum penalty of life in prison for Russ.

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

On Monday, the state said the victim's family members would not be giving impact statements inside the courtroom.

Russ, who had been silent leading up to her sentencing, decided to address the courtroom.

"I wasn't anyone's lookout or spotter I specifically went there because I was invited to perform and that night was the scariest thing I have experienced," said Russ.  

Russ went on to say that she had no affiliation with the two rival groups that were involved in the shooting.

“I am not a gang member, never have been, never will be,” said Russ.

The two life sentences plus the 15-year sentence for conspiracy to commit murder, Judge Thompson says will run concurrently.

Assistant State Attorney Sara Miller emphasized the role Russ played.

“Kierra Russ did play a part, she did play a role that night, and she was, in fact, guiding shooters of locations of the opposing neighborhood group,” said Miller.

State Attorney Amira Fox said there is no doubt Russ's text messages about members of the neighborhood group, they were fighting with, led the men prosecutors said carried out the mass shooting to go to Club Blu.

“You do not have to be the one to pull the trigger as we saw today to end up going to prison for a very long time, in fact for life,” said Fox.

A ruling Fort Myers Police Chief Derrick Diggs hopes will send a message.

“Today our country is reeling from multiple mass shootings since Memorial Day. We can't accept this type of violence in our country and certainly not in our community,” said Chief Diggs.

On Monday, as Russ left court, she did not say anything, but we did see her blow a kiss to family members.

She will spend the rest of her life in prison, receiving two life sentences plus 15 years today on the conspiracy to commit murder charge.

Kierra Russ's attorney filed an appeal.