Gag Order Sought in Indy Arson Case


Attorneys representing an Indianapolis police officer accused of setting a series of fires want a gag order imposed in the case, citing pre-trial publicity.

Prosecutors are expected to file formal felony charges against, Jesse Russell Jr., 31, on Wednesday, 6News' Jack Rinehart reported.

Russell was previously arrested on two counts of felony arson stemming from fires at the Lakeview Terrace apartments, and authorities implicated him in several additional fires spanning from September 2009 to May 2010.

Russell's attorneys said police have made judicial statements regarding the officer.

Last week, authorities said that Russell was the first officer marked on the scene of at least seven fires in April and May, a streak investigators consider highly unusual.

"It's very seldom that police pull up and find a fire," said Lt. Jeff Duhamell. "Sometimes they do, but it's rare."

In a May 14 blaze, a police source told Rinehart that Russell set the fire and then called police from a nearby pay phone.

Russell's fingerprints were found on the pay phone and a can of gasoline was discovered in his truck, the source told Rinehart.

"He picked up a pay phone and called 911 dispatchers. He disguised his voice while he was reporting the fire," said Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi. "To me, he was just thumbing his nose and saying, 'Ha, ha, ha. I'm smarter than all of you guys,' when really and truly, he wasn't."

The source provided Rinehart with a litany of other allegations regarding Russell's possible involvement in recent fires.

Dr. Margie Keaton, a clinical and forensic psychologist at the University of Indianapolis specializing in personality disorders and serial behavior, said Russell exhibits the traits of a pyromaniac.

"He's a little of a thrill seeker, sensation seeker, seeking attention and willing to go to any lengths and limits," she said. "He's sort of a dangerous individual, very dangerous."

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