Why Did Russell Overlin Kill His Parents? Where is He Now?

In Investigation Discovery’s ‘Signs Of A Psychopath: Ladies First,’ the viewers are presented with actual police recordings of the interrogation sessions that killer Russell Overlin went through after killing his parents in Mitchellville, Iowa, in January 2007. The nonchalance and calm with which he describes the heinous crime in the tapes are disturbing and sickening. If you’re looking to find out more about the crime and the current whereabouts of Russell Overlin, here’s what we know.

Why Did Russell Overlin Kill His Parents?

Gilbert Overlin, 81, and 71-year-old Naomi Overlin left Sunday church services in the small town of Mitchellville in Iowa on January 28, 2007. The elderly couple was never seen again. However, the remains of the pair were discovered in a cistern outside their Mitchellville home on February 1, 2007. The police refused to divulge any details about the horrific crime, with one of the investigators stating, “We know how they died, but we’re not going to release that information at this point in time.”

Gilbert Overlin and Naomi Overlin

Meanwhile, Gilbert’s son, Russell Lee Overlin, then 52, was also found to be missing. The authorities issued a material witness warrant for Russell on February 2, though they were not sure whether he was still in the Des Moines area. They claimed he could be armed and violent and was believed to be driving a red 1995 Chevrolet Tahoe with Iowa license number 009-EAN. Russell Overlin’s sister, Janet Wilcox, said, “I’m not going to tell anybody else anything; I’m not going to say anything bad about my brother.” She added, “Russ is a loner. Russ doesn’t really have any friends.”

US Marshals had also started looking for Russell and offered a $2,500 reward for information leading to his arrest. He remained on the loose for a week before the Northern Oklahoma Violent Crimes Task Force arrested him outside a motel near Miami, Oklahoma, on February 8, around 400 miles away from his home. He was held at the county jail in Ottawa, Oklahoma, before being extradited to Iowa for questioning. The officers did not initially divulge that his father and stepmother had been found dead.

The investigators asked him when he had last seen his dad and stepmom, to which he replied, “Well, let’s see. I’m pretty sure I talked with him Saturday because I carried some corn in the house.” He informed the officers that he resided in a trailer his father owned, situated behind the family-owned barn, since September 2006. Forensic Psychologist Dr. Nameeta Sahni noted, “Russell’s history is consistent with someone displaying a parasitic lifestyle. He hasn’t been able to hold down jobs consistently and has employment instability because of his immaturity.”

Russell initially claimed he did not see his father and stepmom on January 28 all day but knew they had gone to church “since their car was gone.” When the investigators informed him that they had been found dead, his first reaction was, “Really?” After that, he continued, “I was kind of hoping to play dumb, but obviously, playing dumb only gets you so far.” The detectives pressed further, asking him where did he suppose the police found their body. Russell replied, “I know exactly where you found them.” He further added, “I killed them.”

He calmly described how he had murdered his father and stepmother, beating them to death with a baseball bat. Forensic Psychiatrist Dr. Charles A Morgan III noted that Russell had no remorse in his voice as he admitted to the crime and meticulously divulged the details. Russell said he was waiting for the couple to return from church and hit Naomi first as she entered through the back porch. He hit her two-three times before Gilbert walked in and threatened to call the police on Russell.

As Gilbert started walking toward the kitchen, he bashed him in the head with the baseball bat about half a dozen times. Russell further added that he “finished his father off” by smothering him with a pillow obtained from his father and stepmother’s bed. He continued claiming he was surprised and “did not know it took so long to smother somebody.” After killing Gilbert, Russell headed back toward Naomi and hit her a dozen more times with the baseball bat.

Answering the detectives’ inquiries, Russell said he took off the blade on the front of a loader that his family owned and used it to carry his father and stepmother to the well before dropping them. He claimed he plunged Naomi first and experienced great difficulty in carrying Gilbert out. When asked whom he threw in the well first, he replied Naomi and smirked, “Ladies first!” He also laid out his probable escape plan, stating he wanted to transfer his dad’s money to another bank account and live off his social welfare checks.

Where is Russell Overlin Now?

Russell Overlin repeatedly confessed to detectives and reporters that he killed his father and stepmother out of hatred for the way he was allegedly treated by them inside the home. In one interview, he said, “I did have a strong dislike for my father. There never was any recognition from him or feelings of support, really. And as far as the stepmom goes, she made me feel lower than a dog.” According to court documents, he confessed to planning and plotting the murder for a week before he actually committed the crime.

However, the victims’ relatives were not convinced that Gilbert and Naomi harassed Russell or prevented him from walking around the house in his shoes. They claimed that the murder convict had very poor hygiene, alleging he carried a bucket to his upstairs bedroom because he was too lazy to use the bathroom downstairs. They also contended Russell used to soil his bed, and his bedroom door had to be kept closed to keep the smell from spreading throughout the house.

On May 11, 2007, Russell was sentenced to two consecutive life terms without the chance of parole for the double murder. The judge said, “I think that it is appropriate in this case. These were terrible crimes.” The court also ordered Russell to pay $300,000 in restitution. He mocked the order by saying, “I’ll just take it out of petty cash.” He also claimed he pleaded guilty to “speed things up.” According to court records, Russell, in his late-60s, is serving his sentence at the Iowa State Penitentiary.

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