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6:35 AM Mon, Dec. 10th

Third, final transient sentenced for beating death of Prescott man

Body was found Dec. 3, 2015

Russell Mell

Russell Mell

Russell Mell was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on Monday, July 16, after pleading guilty to manslaughter, a class 2 felony.

Mell, 50, was involved in the beating death of David Rodriguez-Rodriguez, a 55-year-old Prescott man whose body was found in the driveway of his Beach Avenue home in Prescott Thursday morning, December 3, 2015.

Rodriguez-Rodriguez had been letting Mell and other transients sleep in tents in his backyard, police said. A neighbor told the Courier at the time that transients had been coming in and out of the home since the previous spring.

Investigators determined that sometime late the previous night/very early that morning, an argument erupted between Rodriguez-Rodriguez and three of his guests: Mell, Paul Robichaux, 56, and James Moorhead, 54.

“Each of the three men allegedly assaulted Mr. Rodriguez-Rodriguez, causing multiple injuries,” Lt. Amy Bonney explained in a news release at the time. “Detectives learned that after the assault, the suspects left the area, failing to render any significant aid to the victim.”

Each of the three men were arrested separately in the days following the assault on the charge of second degree murder, a class 1 felony. All three plead not guilty and requested that they be tried separately, but the court eventually denied their request’s, stating that “the co-defendant’s will be jointly tried to a jury,” according to court records.

Not finding this decision to be in their favor, each defendant gradually agreed to a plea agreement.

Robichaux plead guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced on April 23, 2018, to eight years in prison, with 871 days credited as already served for the time he spent in the Yavapai County Jail while his case was being adjudicated.

Moorhead followed suit soon after, pleading guilty to aggravated assault with a dangerous instrument, a class three felony, and received a sentence of 3.5 years imprisonment, with 871 days credited as already served.

When Mell was sentenced, he had already spent 954 days in jail, which were credited as well.

All three were required to pay restitution in the amount of $6,149.71 to the Yavapai County Victim Compensation Program.

This story has been updated to reflect further details