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Plea deal accepted by soldier who led authorities on multi-county manhunt

By GARY LIBERATORE

HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) - While jury selection was scheduled to begin Monday in Herkimer County Court for the case of a former soldier who led authorities on a multi-county manhunt in September, those jurors were sent home after defendant Russell Marcum accepted a plea deal in the case.

Jurors were sent home around Noon on Monday as 20 year old Russel Marcum decided to accept a plea deal that will send him to State Prison for the next ten years.

Last September, authorities were on an all-out manhunt for the former U.S. Army Private. Marcum was believed to be armed and dangerous, with many residents concerned he might have broken into their homes or harm them. After crashing the Chevy Avalanche he was in on Route 20 in the neighboring town of Richfield, then fleeing into the woods, Marcum did break into two homes on East Main Street in West Winfield.

No one was home at either of the homes Marcum broke into, but prosecutors say he stole a loaded 22 caliber revolver from one home, then went into another a few doors down, stole a cell phone from there, along with a Buick Sedan out of the driveway.

That Buick had an OnStar GPS System in it which allowed authorities to watch his movement once they had been notified that it had been stolen. State Police were able to contact Marcum using his mother's cell phone to call the stolen phone. During conversation, an office convinced Marcum to surrender peacefully at the point where he was hiding out in the Town of Dryden in Tompkins County, two days after he crashed the Avalanche in Herkimer County.

Before leading authorities on the two-day chase, Marcum had been arrested a few days prior to that for several burglaries in Watertown from several storage units. He stole a TV and a number of firearms.

Marcum's parents came up to the area from West Virginia to bail him out last September and once out of jail, Marcum was placed into the custody of the U.S. Army, where he actually escaped after assaulting a fellow soldier that was assigned to guard him, that's where he jumped into the Chevy Avalanche.

On Monday, Marcum agreed to the plead deal of 2, five-year prison sentences for burglary. The sentence comes on top of the 1 1/3 - 4 years sentence for the burglaries in the North Country.

Marcum's parents, who were in Herkimer County Court on Monday, helped broker the plea deal instead of going to trial.

Marcum's father told NEWSChannel 2 his son was "messed up" after returning from his tour of duty in Afghanistan and was never the same.

They believe this would have been brought out at trial, but instead of risking a total of 50 years in state prison if convicted, they discussed things with their son Monday morning and decided to accept the plea deal.

Marcum is scheduled to be sentenced in Herkimer County Court on August 6th.

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