Man accused of paying for 2020 Simpson murder pleads guilty

Published 3:53 pm Wednesday, June 19, 2024

By Justin Story, Bowling Green Daily News

A Bowling Green man accused of paying another man to kill his ex-girlfriend’s partner pleaded guilty Monday afternoon in federal court.

Freddy Manuel Gonzalez, 40, entered a guilty plea in U.S. District Court to a count of murder through use of a firearm during a crime of violence.

Gonzalez was accused of conspiring with Xavior Posey to commit the murder of Brian Russell, 43, who was found shot to death at his home in Franklin on Dec. 30, 2020.

Court records indicate Gonzalez had previously been in a relationship with Russell’s ex-wife, but Russell and the woman had gotten back together at the time of his death.

Appearing in federal court with his court-appointed attorney, Brian Butler, Gonzalez acknowledged providing Posey with a firearm in Bowling Green in December 2020 that Posey then used to shoot Russell three times.

Asked by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Greg Stivers whether he promised to pay Posey for the killing, supplied Posey with the firearm and then paid him afterward, Gonzalez responded “yes sir.”

Posey, 26, pleaded guilty Monday morning to the same charge as Gonzalez, admitting that he traveled from Bowling Green to Franklin to commit the homicide and then returned to Bowling Green afterward.

Both men were scheduled to go to trial beginning July 30 on a charge of murder for hire, which carries a punishment of either the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

The amended charge to which Posey and Gonzalez pleaded guilty was brought Monday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky in an information, which is a charging document accusing a person of a crime that is filed by the prosecution without presenting the case to a grand jury.

A criminal complaint was filed against Gonzalez and Posey in 2021 said that Gonzalez had begun dating Miranda Russell in February 2020, but she ended the relationship in October of that year and got back together with Brian Russell.

In November 2020, Miranda Russell returned to Gonzalez, only for the relationship to end once again on Dec. 15, 2020, after which Miranda Russell and Brian Russell spent nearly every day together leading up to the shooting, the complaint said.

Brian Russell reportedly told co-workers that Gonzalez had threatened to kill him and had threatened him in person once with a gun, court records show.

Federal prosecutors claimed that the night before the shooting, Gonzalez and Posey, who were co-workers in Franklin, exchanged text messages that included a discussion of the shooting, and Posey had sent Gonzalez an invitation on Dec. 21, 2020, to join the mobile payment service CashApp.

Gonzalez was arrested on Jan. 5, 2021, on a state charge of first-degree stalking related to allegations that he planted a tracking device on Miranda Russell’s vehicle, and Posey was arrested four days later on unrelated warrants.

Posey was questioned about Brian Russell’s death and police found a hand-drawn blueprint of Miranda Russell’s house and her address among Posey’s effects, a criminal complaint said.

Gonzalez and Posey are scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 25.

Another person, Andy Schmucker, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to a count of being an accessory after the fact to a murder for hire.

Schmucker admitted to driving Posey from Bowling Green to Franklin on the night of the slaying.