Venue shift ordered in battle over estate

Judge orders change of venue in fight over woman's estate
BY PHILLIP O'CONNOR poconnor@opubco.com Published: April 23, 2013
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— A judge in Garvin County ruled Monday that a Murray County court should determine who controls the estate of a pregnant woman who died in police custody.

Jamie Lynn Russell died Jan. 2 after being arrested at a hospital.

She was living in Murray County at the time.

Bruce W. Russell, her estranged husband, is seeking to be named an heir, along with her 10-year-old son.

He had little contact with her, was in jail at the time of her death and signed court documents saying he is engaged to another woman.

If successful, Bruce Russell, who is not the boy's father, would have control over any medical malpractice lawsuit resulting from Jamie Lynn Russell's death, including making decisions on who to sue, whether to settle and for how much.

That possibility angered friends and family of Jamie Russell.

In testimony Monday, Bruce Russell could not correctly recall the year the couple married (2010) how long they lived together or the last time he saw Jamie Russell.

Jamie Russell's sister, Stefanie Fisher, is seeking court approval to represent her sister's estate on behalf of the son and has hired a lawyer to pursue a malpractice claim.

A court hearing is scheduled for May 10 in Murray County.