LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A man who spent decades in prison for brutally killing an 8-year-old Omaha boy nearly 50 years ago has died in a Lincoln prison, Nebraska officials said.
Patrick Russell, 64, died at the the Lincoln Correctional Center, the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services said in a news release. Russell was serving a more than 100-year sentence for the 1973 killing of Joseph Matthew Edmonds.
Officials have said Russell was a teenager on probation for the sexual assault of a 7-year-old boy when he lured 8-year-old Joseph to a vacant apartment and strangled the boy with a telephone cord.
Prosecutors at the time said they believed he molested the boy after killing him.
Questioned three days later, Russell admitted to investigators he had killed the boy and insisted he did so because the boy had insulted Russell’s grandmother.
Russell was initially sentenced to life in prison without parole, but following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said judges must consider a sentence short of a life term for juveniles, Russell sought a new sentence. In 2017, a judge resentenced him to 110 to 126 years in prison.
State officials did not give Russell’s cause of death, saying on that he was being treated for a medical condition, but a 2017 Omaha World-Herald story said Russell suffered from a chronic lung disease.