George Russell: Who Were His Victims? Where is He Now?

Investigation Disocvery’s ‘Murder by Numbers: The Eastside Killer’ chronicles the story of George Waterfield Russell Jr. — a serial killer responsible for the murders of three women in Washington over the 1990 summer. Reports claimed he had sexual intercourse with the bodies and mutilated them before leaving them in bizarre positions at the crime scenes. The episode features investigators involved in George’s case and narrates how he was finally arrested.

Who Were George Russell’s Victims?

According to reports, George Waterfield Russell Jr. sexually assaulted and murdered three women in Washington between June and August 1990. He was accused of horribly mutilating and violating the corpses, posing them in various grotesque positions before leaving the crime scene in each case. Mary Ann Pohlreich was reportedly George’s first victim. Born on December 28, 1962, the 27-year-old’s unclothed body was found beside a McDonald’s restaurant dumpster in Bellevue in King County, Washington, on June 23, 1990. 

Andrea Sue “Randi” Levine//Image Credit: Find A Grave

Police sources stated Mary’s left foot was crossed over her right ankle, and her hands lay over her stomach, clutching a fir cone. Her autopsy report showed she had been brutally choked and beaten, causing severe injuries to her liver and spine. However, the worst aspect was that she had been sexually assaulted after her death. George’s second victim, Carol Marie Jonart Beethe, was born Robert J Jonart and Bernice G Cowan Jonart in Butte in Silver Bow County, Montana, on October 10, 1954. She moved to Bellevue after her marriage to Paul Beethe in 1976.

Around seven weeks after Carol’s horrific murder, one of her two daughters found the 35-year-old’s battered body in the bed of her East Bellevue home on August 9, 1990. The mother of two’s head had been beaten badly, and she had bite marks on her arms and a dry-cleaning bag over her head. She had been attacked with such ferocity that it resulted in two broken ribs. The victim’s body also lay unclothed except for red high heels, and the killer had even placed a Savage. 22 rifle inside her private parts. 

George’s third and final victim, Andrea Sue “Randi” Levine, was born in 1966 in West Point, New York. The police found the 24-year-old’s body on September 3, 1990. He brutally beat her with an aluminum baseball bat, splattering the room with blood. Police sources state the victim was found in a spread-eagled state with around 231 small knife wounds all over the body. On top of it, the book ‘More Joy of Sex’ was placed in Andrea’s left hand, and a sex toy was found lodged in her throat. According to reports, George had wiped down the bat and taken every knife from the house. The police theorized he had used a kitchen knife.

George Russell Remains Incarcerated

George was born to Joyce and George Waterfield Russell Sr. in Florida in April 1958. His parents separated when he was an infant, and his mother initially left him with his negligent grandmother when he was six months old. After she remarried, she took George to Mercer Island, Washington, to live with her new husband when the boy was in junior high school. According to reports, his abandonment issues and parental negligence allegedly pushed him into a world of crime since he was a teen.

Throughout his childhood and early adulthood, George boldly invaded homes as families slept inside and had a considerable criminal record, mostly involving thefts and burglaries. Reports claimed he often stood beside the sleeping women’s bed, gazing silently at them. Law enforcement officials would later theorize that George gained perverse sexual gratification from his exploits. According to news reports, he got into trouble for truancy in 1971 and was allowed to work at the Mercer Island Police Station rather than being punished.

The show stated that George would later use this experience to make women feel comfortable around him as he frequented cocktail lounges around Seattle in search of hook-ups. He was allegedly banned from a club after he was caught impersonating a police officer. George killed Mary a few months after this incident. The investigators zeroed in on him after an expert in sexualized crime stated the murders were the work of one individual. The suspicions gained traction after semen found in Mary matched George’s blood type. 

The primary challenge faced by the investigators was to tie George to the murder of all three women. Eventually, he was linked to missing rings from the bodies of Carol Bleethe and Randi Levine. The forensics team also found small blood stains on a truck George borrowed on the night of Mary’s murder. The retrieved blood stain matched the victim’s blood type, and he was arrested on September 12, 1990. However, George pleaded innocent to all charges, though he bragged about being a fan of Ted Bundy in telephone interviews.

During George’s late 1991 trial, the prosecution and defense brought experts in sexual homicide and behavioral profiling to the stand. The prosecutors also succeeded in admitting into evidence the controversial DNA tests for the hairs, semen, and blood stains. John Douglas, the famous FBI behaviorist, testified about finding a typical pattern in all the rapes and murders, and the close time frame of all three homicides pointed to one perpetrator.

The testimony helped the jurors be convinced beyond circumstantial evidence and reasonable doubt that all three corpses constituted the unique “signature” of a single sociopathic killer. George was found guilty of one count of first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated first-degree murder in November 1991. The court sentenced him to two life imprisonment terms plus 28 years. According to court records, the 65-year-old is currently incarcerated at the Clallam Bay Corrections Center.

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