L Motel Sentencing

Kayson Russell, 20, sits with his attorney Joseph Carver, right, Tuesday afternoon while waiting for his sentencing on charges stemming from the death of Jaron James, 23, at the L Motel in September 2017.

One of the suspects who pleaded guilty to negligent homicide at the L Motel has returned to jail since receiving his three-year probation sentencing nearly five months ago.

Kayson Russell, 20, was released on Wednesday from 10 days behind bars for being accused of a misdemeanor assault on his stepfather, Christopher Yazzie. The time in jail comes after Russell served two days behind bars in November for a failing to submit a drug test. 

Russell is one of four teenagers who were arrested for killing Jaron James after a fight broke out while the teens were drinking in 2017. Russell pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and possessing marijuana with the intent to sell and was sentenced to three years of probation.

Russell had already been arrested when the 10-day sentence was given by probation officers. Sarah Douthit, chief probation officer, could not speak about the case specifically, but said the short sentencing is a part of the statewide SAFE program, which stands for Swift Accountable Fair Enforcement.

The short-term detention is meant to provide an immediate consequence  so that probation officers can monitor and correct a convicted person's progress in response to a violation. If the case's probation officer, judge or the Coconino County Attorney does not feel the probation is working, the case can be sent back to allow them to consider revoking the person's probation status.

"If the behavior doesn't resurface, we will not relay that petition," Douthit said.

The most recent assault charge between Russell and his step-father happened on Feb. 24. According to police reports, the assault began after Russell intervened in an argument between his mother and Yazzie.

Russell admitted at the time to pushing Yazzie's face and starting the incident. The case will be going to trial and is currently scheduled for April 30 in the Flagstaff Municipal Court.

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Scott Buffon can be reached at sbuffon@azdailysun.com, on Twitter @scottbuffon or by phone at (928) 556-2250.


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