The kidnapping hoax case involving Carlee Russell, a 26-year-old woman accused of orchestrating her kidnapping last July, is set to proceed in state court.
Russell faces charges for false reporting to law enforcement and falsely reporting an incident, both classified as Class A misdemeanors. She pleaded not guilty to both counts during a recent pretrial hearing in Hoover Municipal Court.
According to WBRC, the municipal judge, Brad Bishop, expressed confidence that prosecutors could secure a conviction and found Russell guilty on both counts. The Alabama Attorney General’s Office is overseeing the case. It has recommended a year in jail, six months for each count, $831 in court fines, and $17,974.88 in restitution to cover the costs incurred during the search for Russell.
Russell’s legal team intends to appeal the case to the circuit court, primarily to contest the custodial sentence recommended by the state, as they argue that no one in Alabama has served jail time for a comparable offense. The move to circuit court will require the state to present evidence and witnesses to support their case and justify the substantial restitution request. Despite these legal developments, investigators remain in the dark about Russell’s whereabouts during her 49-hour disappearance.