Suspect in Salkum triple murder gets six years in prison on unrelated charges

A career criminal who was possibly tied to the Aug. 21 triple murder in Salkum was sentenced today to six years in prison on unrelated charges.

Robert “Robbie” Shawn Russell pleaded guilty in Lewis County Superior Court to multiple charges stemming from three criminal cases.

None of the nine charges has anything to do with the triple murder, in which Russell is a person of interest. Witness testimony in court documents alleges that Russell sent two men – John Allen Booth, 31, and Ryan J. McCarthy – to collect a debt from 53-year-old David J. West Sr., which led to his death and the deaths of his son, 16-year-old David J. West Jr., and 50-year-old Mineral resident Tony E. Williams. Denise Salts, 51, was critically wounded after being shot in the face.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Brad Meagher said prosecutors don’t have much evidence against Russell, 46, in that case because its main witness, West Sr., is dead.

One of the cases that wrapped up Wednesday involved an ambush on teenagers that Russell and West Sr. cooperated on in June 2009 at a campsite near Winlock. Russell allegedly brandished a gun and told the teenagers to freeze while West assaulted a man with a lead pipe to recoup $4,000 that was reportedly stolen from his home.

In that case, Russell pleaded guilty to second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, third-degree assault and unlawful imprisonment.

In the other two cases, Russell pleaded guilty to three counts of possession of methamphetamine, two counts of intent to deliver methamphetamine and one count of driving with a suspended license.

Russell’s most recent arrest was in early October while he sat in the Lewis County Jail awaiting trial. He was charged with delivering meth to fellow inmates.

On Sept. 27, jail officials found a “golf-ball” sized amount of meth on another inmate. They later found more than 13 grams of meth throughout the jail.

According to officials, inmates said Russell smuggled the dope into jail by hiding it in his rectum before he was arrested by a bail bondsmen. Russell plead guilty to the charge while in custody.

Bail bondsmen detained Russell Aug. 26 in Tumwater. The sheriff’s office had a warrant out for his arrest in connection to the Salkum slayings.