New trial date set in murder-for-hire case
Published 4:17 pm Friday, September 29, 2023
By Justin Story, Bowling Green Daily News
A new trial date has been set for two men accused of carrying out a murder for hire in Simpson County.
Xavior Caine Posey and Freddy Gonzalez face the murder for hire charge in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green.
Gonzalez is alleged to have paid Posey to kill Brian Russell, 43, of Franklin, who was found shot to death on Dec. 30, 2020, at his Simpson County home.
Both men were scheduled to go to trial next month, but Posey’s attorney, Kyle Bumgarner, requested a postponement after he lost notes and other hard copy materials in a July 20 fire that destroyed the Kerrick Bachert law firm’s State Street building where he works.
“Those files consisted of notes, outlines and mental impressions formed over the two-plus years that this case has been litigated,” Bumgarner said in a motion filed last month to continue the trial. “Counsel is actively working to recreate those files to the best of his ability while maintaining his ongoing obligations.”
Bumgarner also said in the motion that he would need the additional time to review about 400 pages of evidence recently turned over by federal prosecutors, along with cell phone extractions from two material witnesses.
U.S. District Court Chief Judge Greg Stivers signed an order, filed Wednesday, rescheduling the trial for July 30, 2024.
The trial is expected to last two weeks, and an in-person pretrial conference has been set for June 28.
Gonzalez and Posey were indicted in 2021 by a federal grand jury in Bowling Green.
According to court records, Gonzalez is accused of soliciting Posey to kill Russell, who had rekindled a relationship with his ex-wife after she ended a previous relationship with Gonzalez.
Federal prosecutors allege that Gonzalez offered money to Posey through the mobile payment service CashApp and discussed the plan in coded language.
Another man, Andy Schmucker, has pleaded guilty to a count of being an accessory after the fact to a murder for hire.
Schmucker was accused of meeting with Posey in Bowling Green and driving him to Franklin.
“During the drive, Posey told Schmucker that he had been hired to kill someone,” Schmucker’s plea agreement said.
According to court records, Posey had Schmucker drop him off near a cemetery in Franklin behind Russell’s residence in the early morning hours of Dec. 30, 2020, and Posey instructed Schmucker to circle the block.
After doing that, Schmucker picked up Posey, and the two traveled to Portland Avenue, where Posey got out, walked across the street to Russell’s residence and then came back to the truck, records show.
Posey then left the truck a second time and crossed the street to the right side of Russell’s residence.
“Schmucker heard three shots fired, and then Posey ran back to the truck,” the plea agreement said. “Schmucker asked Posey if he got him, and Posey replied that he didn’t know as he shot through the door. The two men fled the scene in the truck.”
Schmucker awaits sentencing in federal court.
The murder for hire charge carries a punishment of either the death penalty or life in prison.
The decision to pursue the death penalty in a federal criminal case is made by the U.S. attorney general.