Family says trial for alleged murderer pushed back

POSTED: 6:26 PM Oct 02 2012   UPDATED: 7:32 PM Feb 06 2013
springle
BEAUFORT -

Update:

Family of Navy Commander Keith Springle, a clinic social worker who was working in Iraq when he was killed allegedly by an Army Sergeant, said a military trial for the man responsible has been pushed back.

This comes almost 4 years after the alleged murder happened at Camp Liberty. In May of 2009, Army Sgt. John M. Russell allegedly shot and killed 5 people at a military counseling clinic where he was receiving treatment.

Back in late November, a trial date was set for March 11. Wednesday, Springle's family said they heard news the trial was pushed back to April 22.

"There's a possibility there could be a plea bargain," said Thomas Springle, Keith's Brother. "If this winds up in a plea bargain, it will will shorten the duration of the trial, there won't be a trial, there will be a sentencing. We're still back to the basic question. Why are we doing this 4 years after it happened?"

Previous Story:

The family of a Navy commander is looking for answers, more than 3 years after a deadly shooting at a military counseling clinic in Baghdad.

On May 11, 2009, Arm Sgt. John M. Russell allegedly shot and killed 5 people at Camp Liberty. One of those people was Commander Keith Springle. Springle was a clinical social worker at the camp.

On June 1, 2012, Russell was arraigned on five counts of premeditated murder. However, a trial date was not set.

According to the Springles, a judge said they could have a trial sometime in 2013.

"Why is this taking so long, what is holding it up?" Marilyn Springle said. Marilyn is CMDR Springle's sister-in-law. "It just keeps going on and on and there's no seeming end in sight," Marilyn said.

Russell could possibly face the death penalty if convicted. However, family members said they want Russell to spend life in prison.

However, the Springle family just wants to see the trial happen. It would bring closure to a long and painful process.

"We know that, when they sign up to go in harms way that's a risk," Marilyn said. "But, to fall at the hands of one of your own, and the army do nothing, seemingly, to bring that to justice seems really unfair, unethical and not what we had been told originally."

Russell is being held in Washington State at the Northwest Joint Regional Corrections Facility.